Loose steps lead down to the dusty porch

surrounded by the graffitied stone wall  

I watch the sun rise from the lawn chair 

paces from the small bungalow where we lived

sharing cinnamon rolls, spaghetti, lemonade

all of us stuffed in tight

the blue coat of paint on the house so worn

we see rough splintered wood underneath

the shutters squeak in the wind

the roof leaks and my father curses, puts

back the split shingles and reseals them  

the sun high and hot over the flagstone path 

the front door with the torn screen

my grandmother grows tomatoes along that walk  

near the boulder left sometime after the last ice age

I imagine its ancient world when dinosaurs 

and woolly mammoths roamed among the trees 

now the lawn is crushed by dandelions

and giant ragweed bushes stampede across

red tailed hawks screech in wheezing oaks

as my heart sinks with the sun on the planks

and I slip into a place of buzzing voices

my brothers plead 

and my mother bangs the car keys on the table

The driveway up front by the big willow 

points away from the house onto the broken road 

with millions of hairline cracks

like fault lines to other houses, other families.


by Alison Carb Sussman

Alison Carb Sussman’s chapbook, On the Edge, is scheduled for publication by Finishing Line Press in May, 2013.  Her poetry has appeared in The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Eclipse, Slipstream, and elsewhere.  She currently studies at The Writers Studio under the direction of Philip Schultz.

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