Today's poem is by Claudia Carlson

Leaving Mud Road

The house is watermarked from drains,
smudged by animals rubbing its risers,
palm prints silhouette the shelves and
worn treads speak in vowels.

There are whispers of mutiny—
tides of weedy lawn and urgent ivy
plot against the foundation;
the attic has been breached by squirrels

who chewed my crayons and dolls
into waxy nests in small sneakers.
The mailbox will always be stolen
by treasure-hunting college kids.

Will strangers wonder why half
the shed roof is green, not gray?
Will they notice the one-foot rosebush
given to a single extravagant pink bloom?

Stranger, I have slept on that floor and gazed
into the celestial eye of the skylight
on nights when the doors creaked in sympathy
with the trees. The side door

opens onto a small garden once guarded
by a woman whose wheelchair grooved the thin soil
as she kept watch on blue jays and neighbors
and ordered bulbs to survive winter and raccoons.

The house is leaking...
books for the old-age home,
books for the rare-book man,
bags of bills shredded into coarse sand.

Someone will arrive with a key
and a new map. They will not know
who fed all the birds that will return
in the spring, so hungry and demanding.

Copyright © 2007 Claudia Carlson All rights reserved
from The Elephant House
Marsh Hawk Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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