The Private Lives of Those I've Loved

Written by: Paul Sylvester

The hutch 
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 
and lineaments 
of the eight-score man who built it. 

The eerie, beautiful portrait 
of some great-  great-  great- 
someone-or-other 
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
(probably pine).

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.