The red cardinal behind
the fuchsia orchid pressed
against my window
pecks at the feeder and
his beak is as orange
and pointed as a cartoon bird’s
against the green in which
my glance takes in the reddish-stemmed
plant that marks the ashes of our dog.
The once white house down the block
is a memory covered
in just one coat:
the pink our new neighbor chose
is the shade of strawberry frosting,
the mane of a princess pony,
like the ones my son loves to color in,
though he wishes my black ink printer
could make its own rainbows.
The Shakers decreed that only
their meeting houses could
be painted white without
(of a blueish shade within).
As though the blankness
contained too much space for desire.
I covet the clean white house
two streets over, the way the bright
Satsumas pop from the leaves that hover
by the marigold doorway.
The owners often stand on a scaffold,
scraping clean another eave.
Once, we tended to our house this way,
once electric green with a hand-built
fence that wasn’t weather-worn
and a puppy that sprang inside its yard.
A house, like a body, has walls that are thin
against the griefs time brings it.
Christine Poreba’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Subtropics, The Southern Review, and The Sun Magazine, and various anthologies. Her book, Rough Knowledge, was awarded the Philip Levine Prize. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband and son.