Suppose this fall we go install new shutters
on our windows. You know the walls have not fared well,
old neighbors spot their every bruise. The possibilities
are endless. You would choose a genuine wood:
a cedar or cypress or west-coast pine while I would opt
for dripless caps in plastic from Home Depot. I think
I'd paint the damn things black. A sentient clerk could propose
a lighter tone to soften our brick facade.
Then in spring we can chuck it all, take a trek
along Schuylkill, past the kirks and fabled malls
to my folks' house in Walden. They have cottonmouth
under their bridge. It's a lonely place
with aging wood, they bought it cheap and then condemned
their bliss-free years to salvage the wreck
and bring it up to par. With shutters caked
in many layers, my father worried and scraped
the paint; then lost his life in his attempt
to find the wood again. At times, I envy him.
Or, say one night it rains in Versailles and there
you'll lie alone in bed; listening to clatter
as mid-winter gales shear the pins inside the holes
of lattices bent on slapping blindly. One floor down
the fury unmoors the railings from the building.