Lynn Marie Houston’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Painted Bride Quarterly, Poydras Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and others, as well as in her first collection, The Clever Dream of Man (Aldrich Press). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Award and two Best of the Net Awards and has received distinction in contests sponsored by Prime Number Magazine, Whispering Prairie Press, The National Federation of Poetry Societies, and Broad River Review. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Southern Connecticut State University and serves as editor of Five Oaks Press.
I am thinking of the pictures
of his new wife when I strip
the old camper’s interior walls, tear out
the couch from its rounded alcove, and rip
up layer after layer of flooring: laminate, linoleum,
then plywood squares so rotten they give
way with a half-hearted blow from my hammer.
It’s then I notice the detritus clinging to the steel frame:
an uninflated red balloon, a paper hat with an elastic string,
three green plastic army men, a batman figurine,
and a sun-bleached calendar from 1969, the remains
of a child’s birthday party from over forty years ago.
I wonder what month of summer it was,
and where the family was camping,
what it was like to be loved
in the space I had destroyed.
With Love to California, Now that I No Longer Live There
A rose of Sharon grew in the yard, a cutting I’d brought
from my grandmother’s, trucked three thousand miles
to plant, hungering as I was for East Coast home.
At my new job, English department meetings—
profanities, rolled eyes, chairs raised in anger.
In six years, I never taught the same class twice.
At night, I would walk past neighbor’s houses,
the low-slump and orange tile of the Spanish style
so different from East Coast architecture.
Lit windows daisy chained the dark block, linking everyone
except me. From where I stood alone in the fog, their porch lights
formed fluorescent roses planted in welcome for someone else.
Strangers own the rose of Sharon now.
It might still flower pink, despite the California drought
and the lolling tongues of faculty, desperate like caterpillars.