The Porch by Alexander Houk

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The Porch

Reddish-Brown are the screws buried beneath the porch

Remnants torn down long ago, replaced by hard work

Built on the backs of the strong

Stood on the foundations of teamwork

Soaping threads makes wood swell to lock tight

Hex headed Lag screws bore deep until washer press and splinter into southern yellow pine

Splinters and crackles, fresh and dried the wood; feel the burn in the forearm, spinning

Thirsty is the soap it takes until it is filled, water clinging to the metal ridges, rusting

Father yelling, stairs crooked, his math incorrect and work shoddy

Blame put on me, not holding steady enough, not being sturdy enough

For soaped screws to be set deep into the stringers

Sun setting and daylight dying on another long evening

The ceiling above the bed does nothing to drown out the chatter in the night

“did you love your ex-wife?” Left unanswered to be forgotten

a man built on a foundation of ashes, but

When the screws rust away who’s left to hold up the porch?

I was born somewhere in California but have lived in Vermont for longer than I can remember. I’m used to cold snowy winters and walking up hills to get most places. Skyscrapers and flat land make me feel uneasy if I look at them for too long. It’s heartbreaking to me, that soon I’ll be looking for graduate work and most likely leaving Vermont behind.


Image Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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