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February 14, 2023

Inside the House We Lived in When Dad Went Broke

Luanne Castle
Inside the House We Lived in When Dad Went Broke

You’re not in the photo, but it’s all about you.

You composed it around Grandma opening a gift,

as we children hover to witness the nightgown

or monogrammed hankies emerge from the box.

Framing us, an adequate limestone fireplace

represents the shiny but modest three-bedroom

aspiring to the booming middle class.

The bookshelf to my left is mere magazine rack,

holding your copies of Time and Look and the paper.

At one end of the fireplace mantel sits tiny ceramics,

Christmas tree and partridge, kilned by a relative.

On the coffee table visible near Grandma’s feet,

your wife keeps two pillars once burned, but

now lightless. I wear a jumper formerly my aunt’s,

am drawn to the carved figures that make me think

of you, the ones you got in lieu of rent from a tenant.

You bought the old storefront on land contract,

announced you were going to be an entrepreneur. After

the business went bust, you couldn’t pay for the property.

To my left Alonso Quixano wears his shaving basin

and to Grandma’s right stands the knight Don Quixote.

Wooden and warped, whittled from common wood,

they hold their heads high, both the same, after all.

Luanne Castle's Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award.  Her first collection of poetry, Doll God, winner of the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Poetry, was published by Aldrich Press. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, American Journal of Poetry, Pleiades, River Teeth, TAB, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and other journals.

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