Leveler Poetry Journal
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Moving between soffits and septic tank

into a house wandering and quiet, shiplapped

but exposed, the woman rearranges her life

into vertical parts. Some fastenings are undone

and each interior door has been sealed.

The corner tight by anchor bolt is still an edge

of shadowed light, her smile wide and blinking,

full of holes. She stands in the shadow

of anticipation and looks straight south through

the flattened horizon into a future

of other architecture. She wants a frame

without pitch, without anger. These 12 years

the caulking did not hold; weep cuts could not stop

tears from moving back into the house again.

Excess load has increased the chance of another failure.

If damage was factored into the design,

she was unaware. Look at the cracks

in the concrete, the door jamb. People notice

more than miters in moulding. Even at the start,

the house wasn’t plumb; it was never that simple

to say his love was structurally rigid

or exactly perpendicular to hers. He developed

other properties with his good blonde looks,

and she knew enough to mask the joints,

but the interior finish keeps eroding.

Her typical state is fatigue, a nailing surface for dread.

That the paint has cured is a matter of course,

but the continuous force of waiting:

it is this that she faces. This, and the sashing

of a glass past. She hides in the dormer,

talking on her phone for hours, staring

into the roof ridge. Everything was braced

by gypsum and plywood, joists and struts.

Even though the house was expertly built,

surfaces seem to leak and expand.

Lauren Camp