April Prompts Number 18


Mary’s #3:  Five ways of looking at your house

(I cheated–I wrote this in March when I first got the prompts.

I couldn’t wait, so I put all the #3’s together and came up with this.)


1. (how I got here)

It was the last one we saw.

The long driveway,

the little pond.

What we’d been searching for.


2. (a map of my brain)

My hippocampus is filled with it:

the hallway I can negotiate in the dark,

the cups in the kitchen cabinets,

the light switches everywhere.


Its sounds no longer twitch my amygdala:

the furnace popping into life,

the water filter recycling in the night,

the way the bathtub gurgles all alone.


My pre-frontal cortex works on it

all the time: we need to replace

the bay window, the bathroom floors.

As I grow old, I’m growing fewer flowers.


3. (my career as a killer)

In the thirty years I’ve lived here,

I’ve killed two cherry trees,

one crabapple tree,

one plum tree. Cats

are buried

under the spruces in front,

under the old oak in back,

under the arbor,

under my study window,

on the edge of the forest.

Dogs are buried

under the new oaks

and where the plum tree

used to be. The garden

is built on the vegetables

I’ve been killing

for years.


4. (people with animal or insect characteristics)

Under the eaves,

in an abandoned robin’s nest,

a flying squirrel stashed mushrooms.


Beside the ehimney,

between the walls,

wasps built their winter nest.


In the cellar,

on the shelves,

jars of pickles, pails of honey.


5. (the initial subject disappears)

In the spring, we could not sleep

for the wood frogs and peepers

in the pond. A barred owl perched

in a birch above and dived for frogs.

Blue herons, too, came to eat,

and deer to drink. Mallards. Water

from the fields and woods around

and silt flowed too when corn grew,

Dogwood likes wet clay.

Swamp maple. Elder.

Little pines. Mourning

doves and sharp-shinned hawks.

A family of woodpeckers.

A pair of smooth gray stones.

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