Between the back porch and main street

Between The Back Porch and Main Street

Years pass like rogue taxidermists,
change the mundane into artifacts,
guts the novelty of newness
from every timber in a house
and stuffs them back up with dust,
’til grime pours out of every vein
and spills out on the floorboards
which have buckled under years and rain.
Paint chips have weathered into wrinkles.
The breeze sculpts creases and crinkles
in the curtains where the moths have
managed to build their nests .

Funny how a house
stays a home,
even after all the people have abandoned her,
even after no one calls her home.

Thank the honey locust
who could no longer hold the treehouse,

Who puts a treehouse up a honey locust?

Sunk a cavern into the pantry,
chased out all the people,
allowing in the birds and sunbeams and snowstorms
and a family of raccoons who moved into the parlor.

They’ve been paying rent for years now,
gathered a varmints-fortune in rusted bolts,
nuts, scraps of twinkling treasures,
and tucked them safely in the bathroom sink .

When the rain comes, the tub plugged with
dirt and cicada corpses creeps full,
stirs up a film of algae and earth
painting a cloudy tapestry on the surface.
Hydrangeas used to grow in the kitchen window
where now there are only dandelions.

**The point of this particular assignment was to write a poem that showed how beauty changes. I grew up in a community that is shrinking year after year and what stays are the abandoned houses. Nearly 2/3 of the houses in town are unoccupied by my rough count. When I was younger, I didn’t have much to do but explore the emptiness of my town but I learned to see the beauty in nature slowly taking over what had once been so civilized.

We also had to include a picture with the assignment. I chose to use an old photo of a house I particularly liked because I knew it lived in and abandoned. It was also the only thing I could really see in the mornings waiting for the bus, in between my porch and main street.

Between the back porch and main street




I’ve been trying to count your freckles
with every press of my lips to your cheek –
forehead, nose, arms, shoulders.
I even devoted what seemed a lifetime
in a fruitless attempt to capture the constellation
that’s hiding in the crook of your elbow.
The sky blushes along the horizon,
harboring the suns imminent rise
and I fear that when it does dare rise,
your skin will cease to reflect the stars
and the moon that is your mouth will fade.
Who then will you be?



Sometimes the rush overwhelms me,
taking the stage, cheeks burnt, blood boiled,
the words burst out in a voice I barely know.
Coming down, pulse aflutter, knees weak.
I’ve hardly time the to breath between acts,
a new costume, new Blanche, new lies to spin,
and though I’m chaos, a calm is buried underneath.

Yet there are instances when the rush takes hold,
pulls me under, sinks me in shallow water,
engulfs me in a crowd, drenches my lungs in a small room,
panic seizing my limbs like shackles
toes clenched in wet dirt, drowning on the rain.
There’s regret for all that time lost frozen
under streetlamps and behind parked cars.

I will not weep for what I could not speak,
too frightened to give away a single word –
the best safety lies in fear after all.
It is dull, uneventful, a meek and mediocre way to live,
but at least I took the risk to live.
I’ll raise no banners, stir no pond, nor break a quiet dawn,
but wait ‘til panics pass by for the cover of familiarity.

I hope for this anxiety, pray for it
to wash over me and make me something new,
transform me into someone I don’t quite know.
Perhaps I will enjoy this one, perhaps I’ll toss her off,
step back, and watch the slow fall in reverse,
for that moment of core-shaking clarity when I see ME –
and run from fear.

The Horseshoe Crab

Horseshoe Crab

I wonder if that horse knows
its strutting through town on horseshoe
I wonder if those crabs know
they’re trotting through town on stallion soles.

Admire the horse that chose
to redefine the horseshoe and the
Praise the strength of crabs who strove
to tote the mass of an ambling equine.

Condemn the horse who dared impose
his weight upon the horseshoe
Reject the nerve of crabs who dared
the throes of losing mollusks in place of mustangs.

I wonder if that horse knows
It’s strutting through town on horseshoe-
I wonder if those crabs know
they’ve been chelicerata from the start.

(The assignment with this poem was to write about dopplegangers in some form or another, and this is what came of it.)