The House After Him in Fourteen Places [1-3]
The House After Him in Fourteen Places [4-6]
The House After Him in Fourteen Places [7-9]
The House After Him in Fourteen Places [10-12]
The House After Him in Fourteen Places [13-14]
About Aimée Baker
The house after him in fourteen places
1. The Shutter Door
opens to the dryer
while an accordion unravels.
His shirts are missing
from the bundle of clothes
smelling of mint.
It is no longer fun to walk
around the house—
I am heavier than the marble urn—
the weight of my mind is heavier
than a bowl of pecans.
Burnt toast out smells oatmeal.
The banana is on fire only for a day
then its brown rash becomes too sweet.
My boyfriend fucked my sister
over and over.
Before, wrong was more mild,
hard butter ripping cracked wheat.
A cracked tooth catches food
like fingernails will dirt—
fingers tell the truth when no gloves are available.
3. Night Stand with Paper
My dream last night offered my demons bread.
I remember his lips as being dry.
It is much better to remember this
than it is to think soft and soothing.
A pagan prayer group offered me
a silk bag smelling of herb.
The paper picks up the herb and relaxes—
its sigh audible like tissue being folded.
One corner aligns itself with the other corner.
The corners of the bedroom are now white.
He would not like the movement
away from the cave.
4. Small Table
Grandma is missing from the drawer
as are her glasses, black rimmed and pointy
like forks. A lady bug crawls onto my toe.
There is a beetle waiting for us
at the door. I step over it.
There is plenty to step over—
rocks, his touch, rocks, my thought of him, rocks…
Atlas shrugged and the world went away.
5. Big Screen TV
Blondie sings the time is right.
I wonder for which flower.
They say we have a core personality—
those people with notebooks.
I don’t own spiral pads of paper,
the ragged edges make me nervous.
They make medicine for things like that.
I am already a tank full of drugs.
Anymore, and I might drive through the window.
My grandfather drove through his front window.
It was unexpected. That same day
my painting winked at me
as if she had a secret.
6. Short Black Stool
There is no belt, but I hang on
and drink coffee. It leaves me wide-eyed and calm
like a Ritalin baby. I need sunglasses to hide my surprise.
It is best to act like dogs. They lift their legs casually
to pee. In the Philippines, people stand on toilet seats.
He tells me this over green beans and meatloaf.
Lies fall from his mouth like coins
from a till. A nickel carries more weight
than a penny, but they are both still coins.
7. The Study
It was a day of red cranes
and green grass. Call it Christmas.
His mirror reflects pale heartbreak
in the lines of my forehead.
I see what dangles from my left wrist.
The length of dental floss
is monitored in a psych hospital.
I refuse to wear a gown to bed,
preferring silk pants to a cotton hem
which is breezy and gathers gnats.
Gnats aren’t all it gathers—
it gathers bad company, too.
9. Hall Door
There is no need for a urinal any longer.
The door swings on hinges,
stands tall in the hallway.
Annie likes to pee on bathroom mats.
I try to teach her not to be a dog
by inviting her to sit on the couch.
The couch can hold three people…
after that its arms get in the way.
Maybe I will saw them off at the pit.
Pits often contain snakes.
I have yet to be bitten in the dark.
If bitten, I don’t know that I would bite back.
10. Closet Shelf
The stuffed animals he gave me suffocate in the closet,
bagged in clear plastic. A pink bear doesn’t calm the heart.
He won’t be returning. The cheese molds,
it too wrapped in plastic.
Sandra’s brother got drunk and wrapped his head
in a dry cleaners bag. Fatal error.
There is a chill in the closet
and many sweaters to pick from,
all black except for a short orange
frockish thing. No one can make me wear it.
He is loosening around my chest,
but still not gone. There is gravel on the patio.
11. Bathroom Wall
The wall wants to follow the iron cat.
It is too tame to move from the bathroom.
The rest of the house is silent
compared to the rush of toilet water.
Blue tunes play on the radio.
Move the ghost out of the family photo.
I feel her gaze over my shoulder.
The day turns purple to match the weave
of my drapes, the waists of which are gathered
by a rope. My neighbors peer in.
The dogs watch them.
A man in denim growls. It is Monday.
The week begins at half mast.
My right leg has fallen asleep.
A bee could sting me,
leaving its stinger and ass in my thigh.
Light hearted lemons.
Thread the frozen corn
and you have strands of Christmas.
14. Front Door
The dust is an obvious trail to the outside.
Brutus lunges for the morning.
The wind is trying to leave my lungs.
I collect breath before opening the door.
The world is a thief in brown pants.
Forlorn is a mood of sad, a mood of lonely,
a blue pear in an empty Easter bonnet.
My Jewish friend said to celebrate
the Phoenix rising, to be the Phoenix
this particular Easter.
Two girlfriends and I will eat pizza,
watch Walk the Line.
I will draw my own line in the crook
of my smile.
KRISTINA MORGAN received a BA in English and Women Studies from Stephens College and earned her MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from ASU.