An abandoned bride, the farmhouse stands, solitary

in its stiff, two-story plainness. The mailbox leans,

long empty, no name or address. Imagine life


among stoic oaks and distant fields. The smell

of old sweat and tractor oil grips the barn,

the ladder’s crippled rungs kneel with the useless


shovel and hoe. In slatted stalls, dirt and dung

hold the ghostly print of hooves. High windows

of the house reflect a silvery wave of light


the vacant rooms pull in then shutter, except one

window reveals the dark spooled posts of a bed

and the shadows of doors half-closed. Who could be


happy here in this shrill of emptiness? Nowhere

is the forsythia’s fountain of yellow branches, beds

of irises and violets to seize the unexpected places


—the fruit cellar, the cow path to the creek—beauty’s                          

small offerings for the bride who wiped her hands

in her apron for the last time and walked. The road


undoing her tracks, the dust undoing all of her

at the curve where the river shimmered below,

and took on her name as the house could not,


with its sorrows of doors and reflections hostage

to window panes, blurred as the curve ahead,

the last thing I see, a veil of dust rising behind me.



Anne Delana Reeves is a poet and essayist. Her work appears in Crab Orchard Review, Image, Antioch Review, Chapter 16, The Southern Poetry Anthology IV: Tennessee, Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, among others. In addition, Each Fugitive Moment: Essays, Memoirs, and Elegies on Lynda Hull, edited with Diann Blakely, is forthcoming from MadHat Press.

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