Lynn Marie Houston: Three Poems
Yellow jackets burrow for winter
in the exterior brick that edges
the second story window.
Inside that bedroom with its indistinct
hum, sleep eludes me. Who can say
whether bees, the noise of cars
on a distant highway, or some
machinery of my brain that refuses
to power down at night?
In bed, I lay out extra pillows
in a body’s shape, pretend I feel
flesh instead of feathers, instead
of wings. The rain against the gables
turns to sleet. Determined as they are,
insects and weather always find ways
to breech our most intimate spaces.
The dog in the park thinks the copperhead is a toy.
His owner begs the doctor, pleads with God,
but there is nothing to be done.
There’s no future once one has to beg.
Like when you throw me out of your bed again.
What good are tears? Regret, on the other hand,
has palpable effects on the world. The dog-lover
buys a smarter breed, a shorter leash,
petitions city hall for warning signs.
And when I can’t sleep, I prowl.
Nipped by the head of every nail, my bare feet
dull the floor’s finish under the window
when the full moon fails to appear in my sightline
no matter where I stand, no matter how I tilt
my head to get a glimpse toward the east, toward
where I hope you still sleep alone.
When One Door Closes, Another One Opens
is only cliché if you have never lived
in an old farmhouse, if you have never
shut its basement door with a bang and jostled
the entire foundation, jiggling the upstairs
latch loose from its strike and throwing
the front door wide open. It is only cliché
if you have never then had to search under
beds for the feral cat that entered in the time
it took you to mount the stairs, find him
in some dark hiding place, and leave a trail of
treats to coax him back out the front door,
which you slam in annoyance behind him,
shaking the house’s foundation, followed
a few minutes later by the sound of a cat
meowing from the basement. . .
Lynn Marie Houston holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University and is completing an M.F.A at Southern Connecticut State University. Her first collection of poetry, The Clever Dream of Man (Aldrich Press 2015), won the 2016 Connecticut Press Club prize for creative work and went on to take 2nd place in the nationwide competition sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals such as Painted Bride Quarterly, Ocean State Review, Word Riot, Squalorly, and many others. She is the founding editor of Five Oaks Press. For the 2016-2017 academic year, she is serving as poetry editor for the Noctua Review.
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