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.
© Copyright, 2015, Emily