House Hunting, Bee Branch, Arkansas
Beneath the flaking green
lay the previous peach.
The tin roof looked like pie pans
Grandma tied to posts in her garden,
counting on wind to bang the crows away.
I unlocked the attic with a skeleton key
for a view of the whole town—its waxy trees,
church steeple, trailer of watermelons.
We passed on the place; but I wonder
how things would have been different
if the doll house had become our home,
heavy wooden doors wheedling on their springs,
days reading in the tall weeds,
falling asleep in the shadow of a tombstone.
Mornings, air filtered through window screens,
heavy with moisture
that wakes the grass. In winter,
the air was thin; in drought, alive
with dust and pine. The smell descending
with dusk told us the time,
that our minutes were being swallowed
into the blue glow along the horizon,
where, in summer, we stayed under the stars,
sky blacker than coffee or tar.
After Grandma hit the owl with her truck,
a vet removed the dangling wing.
She raised rats for him to hunt
in the seven-foot cage. Sometimes dinner
was a slab of cold, raw meat.
We watched him click his beak,
lids slide over glassy eyes.
Autumn nights I prayed
into the darkness of shivering leaves,
cricket-song, and flightless cries.
Paulette Guerin earned a MFA from the University of Florida, and she now lives in Arkansas where she works as a freelance editor and teaches English at Harding University. Her poetry has appeared in Green Briar Review, Cantos, Concho River Review, Summerset Review, The Main Street Rag, The Tishman Review, and the 2018 Best New Poets anthology. Her chapbook, Polishing Silver, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.