The House

By Brian Swann

Featured Art: The House on the Edge of the Village by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen

Leaves twitch. A wren flits. A rope between trees sags. By the well-head a few stranded dandelions.

Rain opens stones so they shine. A crow calls with the voice of a hammer. The rain stops. The sun enters with the voice of a crow. Heat turns day to distraction and the trapped mind wilts. A hawk calls and small mammals dive for cover. Sky goes carillon, dwindles, cooling off until the moon fills windows and stains rooms. A door swings and things go strange as if they had to. If you hear a voice you hear a voice. I walk through the empty house, carefully, a cat’s whisker. When I get to the top floor, over the moonlit roofs I can see the prison and the small zoo. They must be able to see me here where I’m training the self to lose itself, the way the stream ignores the stream.


Brian Swann’s new poetry collection, In Late Light, has just been published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Soon the University of Nebraska Press will publish his Sky Loom: Native American Myth, Story, Song.

Originally appeared in NOR 14.

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