SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

On the Colors of Houses

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.

Heart Like Rambo

First Learned, Last Lost