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, walking its yard,

the one I used to tend with care,

its vines grown wild.

 

Below our son's window,

the siding peels and rots—

the spot where I patrolled

 

and collared him back to bed,

afraid he'd fly with the Voices, 

which he did, anyway,

 

as I can see by the black and red

demon-cards scattered yet

on this ground, their tattered ends

 

                          proof of his fall.

 

I step inside, and you’re here too,

weeping by the kitchen sink.

On a shelf, platoons of candles

 

mark time, their beeswax feet

clad in pewter, 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. 

Let's sell it, Love, and move away,

surrender this disrepair—

 

my haughty, stubborn Lee,

the wings I clipped,

the years we cannot mend.

 

Appears in The Florida Review,

Volume 43, Number 1, Spring 2019