By Julie Danho
Featured Art by J.L. Mott Iron Works
How long I’ve tried to love you, the way
you still blush and gleam like a teenager
in a poodle skirt, unblemished as the day
you were pressed against wire and mortar
in the shower, on the walls, even the floor,
its concrete flecked with pink. The Nolans,
who chose you, are long gone, their daughters
now grandmothers in their own houses,
the blueprints they left behind moldering
in the basement. How can I blame them?
I didn’t live through the War, the Boom,
this neighborhood rising up in neat rows
as if each Cape had been pining for sun.
In those years, you were prosperity, pedigree,
First Lady Pink named in honor of Mamie
Eisenhower, her White House bathroom pink
from the walls to the tub to the cotton balls,
so that all over America, millions like me
wake up and stumble into a past that waits
with toothbrush and soap. In you, I saw history
running like a faucet, building to a flood
unless stemmed. But when the contractor
gave me a price, he said you were lead,
and with my daughter . . . it might be better
to let you be. So I’ll own your purr and poison,
though I may dream still of reinvention—
blue trim and Harbor Gray—even as I hang
the pink polka dot shower curtain, lay down
that cranberry rug, act as if I chose you,
as if you were everything I ever wanted.
Julie Danho’s first full-length poetry collection, Those Who Keep Arriving, won the 2018 Gerald Cable Book Award from Silverfish Review Press. Her chapbook, Six Portraits, received the 2013 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Award. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Pleiades, and Alaska Quarterly Review as well as featured on The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. You can find her work at juliedanho.com.