Another take on the Sunday Scribblings “December” prompt, but also for Jingle, Poets United, and other friends. This, in memory of houses and people facing neglect. Amy


Chipped clapboard snags bits of falling snow
The sagging porch, bulwarked by drifts
Cats wander in and out from underneath
through the hole in the latticework
ripped back in 82 by Greg’s whisky-fueled Ford sedan

The eaves troughs droop under weight of icicles
A sure sign of neglect
Bad insulation breeds stalactites
The poorer the family, the longer the crystals

Fernbeds of frost, delightful even on broken panes
Nature’s articulation of frozen beauty
Footprints a sign of life within these walls,
clomp clomp up the stairs, bristled Welcome mat
tracked by carefully brushed boots

Inside, the old man reads every word of the Pennysaver
It was their Sunday pastime years back; now it’s his alone
He clips coupons for items he will never buy
and gazes out, waiting for the gas company
to turn off his heat, the bastards.
He could do without the cable, even the electric…

Tonight he will sleep in their four-poster and let go.
The house senses this; from the crumbling chimney
comes the mournful whisper of a sigh

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil