From a House · David P. Miller

I come from a house built within whiff of breweries now corked,
set at the crotch of a valley whose brook now runs within tubes.
House laughing with tailors, machinists, and trainmen,
brooding with knitters, waiters, furniture movers,
birthday-full of chauffeurs and ironworkers,
vacated by painters, insurance clerks, stagehands.

I come from a house traded and kept by Doyle, Ryan, Daley, multiple Murphys,
by and by Zuber and Zwerdling,
doorbelled with Jaime, Rosado, Vassily,
rent-fretted by Baez, Kirikaos, Van Looy,
trudged home and paced overhead by Duggan, Rodriquez, Solsida.
Where home-comers shook off their days of National Shawmut, Somerset Hotel, Frank’s Lunch, Chimes Brownies, wafted their dinners or scooped them from cans.
I come from a house where I came to my she-out-of-thin-air, my karate heroine, siren of newspaper personals.

I come from a house of quadruple mortgages, when flappers verged on breadlines.
A house whose glass eyed Downy-Flake Donuts, Hauschildt Distilled Spirits, Roxbury Mattress. (A pox after that of emptying lots.)
I come from a house bought out from under city-condemning, its price nailed to the porch, upper third hollowed of walls and pipes.
A house with decades of martial art foot landings, massaged hard into blonde polish.
That held itself free from sparks of the torched mattress née stringed instrument factory. (The lot’s palimpsest soil turned up tubes of catgut.)

I come from a house with bedroom carpeted floor to ceiling, a flipped shower where Cold is code word for Hot.
A house where four now go out and come back, and a homebody mouse. (Surprised in the kitchen, it dives down a burner.)
A house rooted on thickness of puddingstone.
A house that shares the water of earth in its basement.
A house that stirs in its sleep with the passage of night trains.


David P. Miller’s poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, poems2go, riverbabble, Nixes Mate Review, HedgeApple, The Lily Poetry Review, Peacock Journal, and What Rough Beast, among others. His collection Sprawled Asleep will be published by Nixes Mate Books in 2020.