Abandoned Farmhouse

Why did they walk away,
leaving their house
alive as a dog
and desperate here on its own?

Maybe the Bank turned them out
and the panicky house had to hear them
pacing, pacing across its mind
till the key pinned a meaning in place
and left it there to go feral
the garden tendril by tendril slipping
into the woods.

Or maybe the man couldn't take
his wife's windows descrying,
refusing communion,
letting his soul's skin be the price
for dragging his boots through a room.
The fan of glass
over the door
shamed him, he had to head out.

The house has no will this winter
to cover her face from the wind.
So bent on collapsing
into the cellar,
resolving at last
her agony there:
the incomprehensible plumbing,
the foot on the stair.

:: Mary Rose O'Reilley, Half Wild (2006)