Sleeping In An Empty House

April 2003

Upstairs,  the 1740 roofline  slumbers under masonite
slapped up in the fifties.  Steam haunts the bright acoustic,
creaks the way a boat strains at its moorings.  We’ve played
“I Am The Captain of the Pinafore” on a Victorian upright
the last owners left, fallen asleep in the dining room
on our trundle bed hauled in after we signed all the papers.

Tonight, renovation seems lobotomy
performed by agreeable architects and contractors
after they plastic bag the brown mineral doorknobs.

We don’t yet know the chimney leaks creosote behind the walls,
how the wiring,  too, could have lost us this place.
We haven’t seen the single, perfect beam, half-covered with bark

and marked with the swing of a forgotten axe
that still supports the kitchen.  Now, the moon awakens me,
newly-risen, full as a belly-ache.  I  get up and wipe clean

counters I will order demolished in three weeks,
to watch blue air through glass ridged by time.
It’s someone’s wedding veil, that light over the brook--

and how fast water moves under the foot-bridge,
its strange, loud brilliance.

Christine Potter

If you've any comments on this poem, Christine Potter would be pleased to hear from you.