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Old House, Route 7, Virginia
For decades now the one tree (bare now,
in the foreground, arms outflung,
fingers wildly gesticulating) has been
berating the old house:
"I don't know why I stay with you!
Just look at you! You're too old for me,
you never do anything, you never
notice me! You're full of wood,
but you never sprout a single leaf!
And you're falling apart! And your roofs
are mismatched! Can't you remember
not to put on a blue porch roof
with a red main roof? It may not bother you,
but it embarrasses me! I could have stood
in the center of a vast forest, hung out
with a crowd of branches who'd creak
my language, or I could have been a beam
in a respectable mansion or even
a bonfire outblazing the stars, but
no!..."--on and on she rants,
while the old house sits in the sun
staring (perhaps sadly) at nothing
we can see, waiting for the angle
of sun that each day briefly blinds,
then reddens his dark windows.
He doesn't really ignore her.
They're part of each other,
her nagging defining a space for him,
a held distance.
The old house lets the tree noises
move around and over and through
his emptiness. He is worn almost
to a husk of golds and reds,
a heap of old leaves waiting
to be wind-strewn.
October 6, 2002