© 2019 by Justin Hunt, text and photos

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While Dreaming of Our Old House,

I Speak to My Wife


I thought we’d sold it long ago—

the yellow ranch we painted

beige with a murmur of green.

 

But here I am, sleepwalking

its yard, the one I used to tend

with care, its vines grown wild

 

with years. Beneath our son’s

bedroom window, the siding peels

and bulges, then splits to a gash

 

at the rampart where I patrolled

on sleepless nights, afraid he’d fly

with the Voices—which he did,

 

as I can plainly see by the black

and orange demon-cards

that lie here scattered in the ivy,

 

their torn, tattered ends tracing

his fall: Halloween in June,

a young boy’s waxing moon

 

       broomsticked to the ground.

 

I step inside, and you’re here

too, weeping by the kitchen sink,

while on a corner bookshelf,

 

platoons of candles mark time,

their beeswax feet shod in pewter,

their tops cast as little busts

 

of General Lee in his Appomattox

hat—chin high, eyes regal, a set

of crossbones on his neck.

 

We never left this house, it seems,

but now I’m seized by the urge

to sell, to surrender our disrepair—

 

my haughty, stubborn Lee,

the walls I breached,  

the years we cannot mend.

 

Let us auction it all. Let us smelt

these dark ores into bars of stars—

and by their gentle light, go home.

 

 

 

Appears in The Florida Review,

Volume 43, Number 1, Spring 2019