Wednesday, January 10, 2018

letter

A house
inhabited 
by blackbirds.
A window
where a woman stood
after losing her child.
A lawn
once anointed
with lemonade.
A fence 
repaired three times
by the same hands.
A porch
where a deaf dog
slept away his days. 
No car
with JUST MARRIED
and a suitcase in the back.
A letter saying
VACATE. UNSAFE.
THIS PROPERTY CONDEMNED. 
______

for dverse poetics. photograph by sharon knight.

 

11 comments:

brudberg said...


This was almost bleaker than the image... I feel the story of the lost child strong.

BTW I fixed your link back to Mr Linky

Amaya Engleking said...

An accurate portrait of love and loss.

angie reinspired said...

This was crop-dusted with ‘sweeeping insensitivity’ labeled ‘very sensitive’ The music video was a matching endlessly emotive (and no emoji seems right right now) Dark and darker

said...

What a beautiful, tragic ghost story, leaving holes in all the right places, allowing me to imagine --- that her child drowned in the bathtub, that it was the mother's fault, that she killed herself after (at least in spirit, if not in body).

I love imagining that sometimes her spirit is visible in human form, but more often she foregoes skin, presenting as a flock of blackbirds trapped inside this house of death.

I love what you did with the symbolism. How her husband was there (fixing fences) but then wasn't (as a deaf dog, sleeping all the time). Then the way you made *her* the house --- condemned and dangerous, warning others, especially her husband, to vacate ... because she's no longer safe to be around.

I like the line break after "No car" to suggest that maybe this happened several decades ago, before families necessarily had a car. It emphasizes the contrast with present day, making it clear that this is a ghost story --- a house the whole town drives by, but knows to stay away from.

Sherry Marr said...

Oh, the heartbreaking stories that old houses hold. I feel the mother at the window who has lost her child. And I can see the deaf old dog, a black lab, I think, with a white grizzled snout. Beautifully done, Shay.

Nosaint said...

Very nice! I especially liked the part about the fence, repaired 3 times by the same hands. All the love that goes into a home and they all come to this.

Mish said...

Each phrase paints another layer of the story, another layer of tragedy.

hedgewitch said...

As always, eloquent and lucent images, brief as life, make this poem a shattering light on the ways and homes of the heart. Beautiful poem, Shay, which doesn't just describe, but illuminates the photograph.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

This is a great listing of life and loss. I absolutely have no critical objectivity with this. Adored. La la Mosk!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Reminds me of this on, my choice for best song in the past 20 years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xID7AxShew0

kaykuala said...

A lot of water had passed under the bridge. These were not all smooth and easy. Very thoughtful take Shay!

Hank