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Poem | The House Itself | Jody Bolz

In a previous MiPOesias edition, Jody Bolz premiered a sequence of “House” poems; and it’s nice to come home with her again with a new segment. She centers her sense of time and loss within walls of brick and mortar, but love and grief make up the structure. She speaks of “the central bewilderment” of relationships, and in the hearth of poetry finds her grounding force.
— Grace Cavalieri


Easy to believe this house

belonged to strangers

before it was ours

but impossible to picture

strangers living here again


waking in this room

and stepping to the window

to gaze out at the Green

a view less open years from now

the redbuds and native oaks


we planted as saplings

grown tall by then grown wide

how quickly it happens

you find a home to settle in

meet neighbors and restore the porch


pull wild vines from every bush

cut ivy from the trees

you jack and shim

the sagging floor in back

of the living room repaint


the walls repair the garage

you buy an old farm table

hampers mirrors chairs

and soon the place is yours

its stairs and shadows 


the doorway of each room 

your clothes in the closets

your books on the shelves

your fire and your darkness

your infant in your arms


Jody Bolz received her MFA from Cornell University, and taught creative writing for more than 20 years at George Washington University. Her poems have appeared in magazines The American Scholar, North American Review, Ploughshares, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and Southern Poetry Review--and in many literary anthologies. Among her honors are a Rona Jaffe Foundation writer's award and an individual artist's grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. She edits the journal Poet Lore, founded in 1889, and is the author most recently of A Lesson in Narrative Time (Gihon Books) and the novella-in-verse Shadow Play (Turning Point Books, 2013).