like everything else in this house is
crooked. A slanting hardwood floor
and the burnished ends
of an ancient table.
An ever rounding table
"a table with history" she says,
a lineage with the cut
of the eight-score man who built it.
The eerie, beautiful portrait
of some great- great- great-
hangs so solemnly with Victorian grace
the nail has begun to bend,
but she will never fall.
One cabinet for the silver
and wine glasses
has been painted triple-white
and sunk into the wall like a safe.
Its shelves boiled clean
to hide their ignoble wood
Not like the Oak left bare-
the smell and musk
of those dark hand-hewn ceiling beams
and the redolence
from somewhere behind the house
of deep-purple lilacs
growing fat like grapes.
Outside, the painted gardens swirl together
in a dizzying carousel of color and light
with short, fat brush strokes
and heavy, bold shadows;
the flowers burn from the healthy soil
replacing sand from ten years ago.
200 bags of fertilizer and now:
A nightgowned woman plays firefighter
every morning with a green hose,
keeping up with the investment.