House in the Heartwood
by Andrena Zawinski
The house on Summerdale Street burnt down,
its fans of wallpaper flowers went up in smoke,
the creak in the first step––gone,
the veined glass pane,
the hum of the furnace kicking in,
the drip drip of the kitchen spigot,
the rattle of ghosts conjured
in its shadows,
the root cellar fragrant with herbs,
just like that––all gone,
up in smoke.
Inside my heart, another house constructs itself––
off the back porch, bleached white sheets balloon
on lines where wind
and everywhere it has been
remembers those sticky summers,
the soapy snap of wet
I wound myself in
to get cool and feel
nubs of breasts beginning
to harden there.
At Gualala, a coast and lifetime away––
inside a redwood den, a wildfire has hollowed out
and scarred a heartwood with dark.
Wrapped in its own cool shroud of moss
wet with fog passing through, nothing
rustles or moves but my feet upon the path
away from it. As a young girl,
I would have happily lost myself
inside its cave walls, taken for my own
this thing, this heart, a home
too large for anyone to hold.
* * * * *
"House in the Heartwood" was first published in Ariel XXI, 2003 (Triton College Salute to the Arts Award).
More about Andrena Zawinski at https://andrenazawinski.wordpress.com.