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issue 3


a poem by
Vernyce Dannells
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You marvel at the fact I can't seem to get certain things right
which is the living room, where the dining room?
Yes, I effortlessly move through bathroom, kitchen, porch, pantry
mezzanine, foyer, loge, balcony.

But, are the knives placed left or right of a plate,
where does the napkin rest?
Apparently I guess all the time…and incorrectly.

Should the glass I touch be within reach of my left or right hand?
and will this ignorance count either way?
To whom … Is this truculence about hackles or shackles?

You went through the only two houses you'd know until college;
before then my knowledge already included squatting, the definition of
eminent (imminent, always imminent) domain, eviction
condemnation and redlining, pining for an address I might share with -
would I ever even have a friend and be unashamed of "home?"

I fantasized a tent to pitch, anticipating the mercy and magnanimity
of Christian friends declaring, "Our Father's house has many mansions."
Wondered, if indeed I showed my heathen face,
whether I might find a place, and at what price, rice Christian?

My prodigal properties required no rent, electricity, weeding, seeding, gates
and pruning. But a character shaped in all that unbounded bounty receives
so much of the world; requires so little. I've taken that camper happily
and sometimes unwashed, with me through this gated community -
this life so far afield of the green, groping harrow I know is home.

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