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I Miss My House

The great roof lifting over my thoughts, even
the brash starlings chattering, trying to nest

The carved door opening and shutting
over my heart with the chiming of a harp
crafted in Jerusalem, Jerusalem then presiding 
over the opening and closing of myself 
as feeling 

The blue kitchen facing the mountains 
the poaching of eggs and beginnings
the sun rising over the eastern peaks

This table facing the sea, those two chairs
facing the hearth with its mantle
of smoke and carved acorns
that bed in the little flowered room of my
love and insomnia the white clarity of my meditations
on those pillows facing the garden 
with its profusion of sea-washed blooms
the arms of the Italian Stone pine stretching out
in gnarled longing toward the sweet grandchildren
waiting to climb up into it

It is said that when the soul leaves the body
it streams toward the other souls and God
but now I know what it actually says as it flits 
through the chilly blue or star shot night:
I miss my house, I miss my house, the sound
of the sea pumping faithfully around it.

-- Doreen Stock
Every Branch That Bears Fruit (S)he
Prunes It, That It May Bear More Fruit
	--John, Chapter 15, Verse 2

Pruning hurts me more than it hurts you,
I told my daughter. Her hair was pink then-
no, orange-or aubergine, perhaps.
The thing about girls is, they often rush to
prune themselves, lop off hair or hems,
punch holes in ears and in second-hand maxims.
Not very New Testament, actually, more
a kind of King James Exodus or a series of
Lamentations with severely-trimmed threats
and tears and birthday parties to which 
you will not be invited, as well as I'm-going-
to-be-a-better-mother-than-you promises.
With a girl, of course, the more holes in
her ears, the more trouble leaks out.
Still, I keep dandling my shears, convinced
a few judicious snips will make her glossy 
and rosy and robust. Forget the mold, 
the viral spread. Forget the probing worm.
Think blossom and sun and the long ache of
summer.

 - from Tar River Poetry, Fall 2007

-- Susan Terris