To describe the house in winter –
first quarter the stone foundation
add tin-ceilinged rooms and damp floors.
Fill the windows with long shards of cropland
and moulding purple clouds, ice
shelving in the ditch thick with snow.
The walls can now be painted a cracked, dank green,
the doors of the darkened kitchen cupboards
bent back and torn like fingernails.
A rind of ice on everything.
In a drawer by the steel sink place a curling picture
of a timid girl in a cheap dress smiling.
Sprinkle mouse shit and hardware.
Let sit for decades.
I like to imagine her
childish tummy round beneath the polka spot dress,
big enough to be teased by girls who have
lost their baby fat already.
A belly button twirled in itself, linty pink
with a uterus of fleshy words she half understands
or will one day in excited confusion
by flashlight and textbook
under covers with her self.
She is, was, will be
always might have been.
If the setting sun paints the room
a glittering orange
it is just as well. She will never know
that the kitchen floor has collapsed
and thin wooden teeth line the maw.