Karin Gottshall

Yellow House Poem

Leave unexcavated from the narrow strip
of garden the Matchbox cars, the Lego astronauts,
the fingers of dolls. Unlistened-to, the zing
of unplugged telephone static, and no red windbreakers
snag in the trees. Unpried, the floorboards
between whose sloping joints are collected nickels,
stuck as though through a jukebox slot to needle
the house’s hits. Or release cool sugar.
There’s a memory in the basement: unpretty, sevenish,
she burns her clothes each evening in the furnace
and is unreachable through Ouija. There’s another
in the master bedroom: pregnant wisp holding
her belly. Leave undug the backyard, the base
of the utility pole standing like a priest
with a direct connection to the forces
of electricity, tirades, and greenish skies.
Leave unglassed the windows where rain
leaks in and streaks the walls with exhaust.
There is no creak in the stairs, the teeth
of vacant winters have gnawed the burrows
of historic mice and slivers in the kitchen
collect unswept. Meter-readers do not visit
this street; no fat letters are dropped in the mail slot.
No owl nests in the garage’s dry rafters—no wisdom,
no midnight who; there are no children here to soothe.

Karin Gottshall lives in Vermont and teaches at Middlebury College. She is the author of Crocus (Fordham University Press, 2007) and several chapbooks. Her new book, The River Won’t Hold You, is the winner of The OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and is forthcoming from The Ohio State University Press in 2014. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Gettysburg Review, and many other journals.
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