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