The Country House, Nicole Callihan

It’s too cold to open the windows for air,
so I pick through the things I left
more than a month ago, in the last decade.
I put away the knives and spoons, the bowls.
And sweeping dead flies into the old blue pail,
I count twenty-two, their black bodies, their wings.
How much can we count over the years?
These accumulated griefs and joys,
the stillness, the ice heavy on the branches.
Anytime I close my eyes, I see you
at the end of your childhood driveway—
your father leaning out the window,
telling you everything you never wanted to know.

Nicole Callihan writes poems and stories. ELSEWHERE, her latest poetry collection, a collaboration with Zoë Ryder White, won the 2019 Sixth Finch Chapbook Prize and will be released in March 2020. Find out more at Callihan recommends Amy Weil’s “Girl with a Yellow Hat.”

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