02 December 2012



by Jonathan Galassi

This house these walls were ours
and everything inside them the
lawns the trees the flower beds
the stone walls not the fern
walk that is Alison's but it's the
way the first light filters
through the thinned-out branch-
es part of us the ancient
apple orchard the hydrangeas
yellowed lily leaves the old
barn the new studio that you and
Chris created for me and the ice-
house and the light is ours the
angled brilliance and the funk of
fall the weather's turned the
snow the stairs the stars out on
the lawn the cold coyotes' calls
are ours the view from the mar-
tini bench the copper beech the
thyme terrace and the new one
and the girls are ours the young
shad and the lilacs and our
square bed and the birch room
and the teahouse sunset apple
smoke the flame azaleas that
didn't take the peonies the si-
lences and evening unraveling
the immense white pine and fuel
oil smell were ours these rooms
are ours the pictures sofas car-
pets my grandmother's bud vase
the coin silver spoons and Eloise
is ours and Pheobe was this room
is ours the square bed and the
threshing here was ours the si-
lences the Paris bedspread and
the dressers and my red desk in
the alcove and your bathroom tub
the inky tentacles e-mail was ours
and phone calls and what makes
you think you're you was always

           pretend you're with me as
you read this all the empty
hours were ours the rattling down
the hall the perfect view across
the road the hills the walls the
white fence fallen branches bit-
tersweet the stairs the girls are
ours the love the friends the
silences your voice your eyes your
hair your neck the beauty all are
ours the empty mornings and the
silences were ours the staring at
the fire before it died the grappa
and the whiskey in etched glasses
and the bellows the black marble
fireplace and Chris's gavel Mol-
lie's picture Christopher's two
drawings dinner by the fire was
ours the sausages the peppermint
foot rub your cowhide slipeprs
endless books too many you kept
saying in the halfway house hu-
midity and hummingbirds all ours
all ours the afternoons the misty
mornings looking up the lawn the
copper beech the peegees turning
purple Haystack and the deep
sleeps the Bald mountain treks
the fern walk and the two chairs
by the stream we never sat in
and the little living room and
Libby's paths the Alfords' rugs the
girls my parents' nesting tables
Pete Street's hidden staircase
all the evenings the talk the
laughter all the music all the
friends the silences the girls and
everything that was and wasn't

           and hours were ours the
walks the silent drives the si-
lences unspoken love the lacks
the guilt the missing the alone-
ness what we couldn't do the
what we didn't say the things I
couldn't do the one I couldn't
be and wanted to and didn't is
ours too and rage is ours and
loss and hours alone are our
the silences the hall the girls
and the unknown was ours the fu-
ture that we couldn't share the
fear the falling leaves and fail-
ing ruining the fault lines and
the love lines and incomprehen-
sion and the need to know and to
be known and broken faith deri-
sion denigration power was ours
and powerlessness and struggle
and my twisted heart that got un-
twisted and your face your voice
your neck your back the tears
the girls the life I left the lost
life all of it was ours is ours
was ours is ours was

From Jonathan  Galassi, Left-handed: Poems (2012).

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