Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

The House

by L.R. Harrell

Quifi Marshall strolls back and forth, up and down the line
Of the street, by the ticking of the courthouse clock
She makes rounds by the dozens, finding the slightest adventure
In the rows of bushes and broken, dead limbs that reach out to her
As she corners herself with the great big shadow of regret,
Never wholly able to find her own, or to be at peace like Leonard,
Her eyes racing straight lines from doorway to doorway,
Her feet trampling and dragging the edges of her smile backwards,
Like a leaf caught in the blender.
Rose is a narcissistic leader of earned fruits and flies, at once,
And her mothers are all dead and gone by the time she gets back,
Trotting all that way for only shallow warmth and
Hard, discernable leftovers, strewn in crumbled pieces,
Scattered about the house with the open door,
Where leaches huddle and winter settles about like an old house is supposed to,
Worn at the bottom and heavy for relief that never comes,
But for Rose’s imaginary return to open arms and finding
Not Leonard at its door.
The little ones circle back eventually, buzzards of destruction,
And everything of Diablo is paced inside that house,
Where he forgets birthdays and anniversaries of important events,
Days that matter to no one entitled to such extravagancies as he,
Purist and lone sufferer of nothing but bad movies and bleak sadness
That goes away each time he wakes or is rolled over,
Never burdened by the pit of himself,
Never revived like warm animals at the thought of touch,
The essence of all which keeps the house alive in his mind only.
Lovers of a certain feeling travel far from the damned domicile,
As if running from its door, returning to die in cold countries,
A napalmed death, where breathing is privilege as keeping legs are,
Privy to loud and painful asphyxiation always, its children,
Badgered by strangers and prodded by fingers and blades,
Ringing around in the dark mornings,
Blistering every appendage ever desired or God-given,
God-forsaken worse than Jewish cats in Tehran during Passover,
When the boys are home and the bombing is quiet.

Added: 30.04.2010