Emily Strauss

American Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. She has been actively publishing since 1997 and over 250 of her poems appear in over a hundred online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. Recently these have included The Four Seasons (Kind of a Hurricane Press), The Writing Disorder, Strong Verse, Aji Magazine, Balloons Lit Journal (Hong Kong), and The Screech Owl: The Apple Tree (UK). The natural world is generally her framework; she also considers the stories of people and places around her and personal histories. She is a semi-retired teacher, now 64 years old, living in California.

Deconstructing a House

They invaded the house afterwards—

sister, brother, children, two great


they opened drawers and cupboards

and photo albums, looking for the text

of her life, neatly numbered journals

later scattered across the floor

interesting reading if only they could

decipher old German.

They pushed all the furniture around

left the houseplants outside to freeze

removed the center table, fingered

the pictures, searching for meaning

to reconcile death with her belongings.

They baked all the last cake mixes

threw out the thirty-year-old Pinot Noir

spawned bags of garbage, speculated

on unlabeled dried powders and

foreign-language foods, wondered

about the stability of rice left dusty

with age and dead paper moths.

Finally her presence was nearly

unrecognizable amidst the altered

landscape of children screaming,

cigarette butts, wine, pillows

displaced, her clothes inspected

bedsheets mis-folded, fresh coffee,

flowers from the church.

Was her being within this dwelling

now undermined by those who

defined their mission according to

who takes that untitled painting

who holds the crumbling sheet music

who can explain the Dutch inscriptions?

The dog will get another home

extra yarn will become new scarves

thread-worn towels will be discarded

collected soap fragments can melt away

this house closed and abandoned—

she wouldn't accept the mess, would

begin again to reconstruct the known world.


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© Copyright, 2015, Emily Strauss.
All Rights Reserved.