by Alice Quinn
“The House on the Hill” by Anne MacKay:
A house for summer with lawns and porches,
Edwardian books, adventure stories, the smell of musty closets,
thin mattress over metal springs, blankets with holes,
a cabinet of arrowheads and stones, forbidden
dumb-waiter creaking, they said it was too old,
odor of attics with discarded bureaus, portraits.
I lived with relics of children already aunts and uncles—
a doll’s house, college scrapbook on the shelf,
baseball bats and gloves forgotten in the window seat.
Nothing could change in the days of salt air filling
the garden, storm winds rattling the big windows,
Mother and Grandmother reading in small circles of light,
now ghosts whispering. The house a lost arm aching in the night.
(From Sailing the Edge © 2003 by Anne MacKay. Used by permission of the Estate of Anne MacKay, 2014. Photo by Brian Stocks)