Last Look, poem by Daniel Ruefman

Paint peeled
from the clap­board siding,
a house slanting
sharply left;
long broken,
the win­dows were black eyes
to the soul of what was
left to linger.

the stove pipe hung
slight­ly askew
where the cast iron bel­ly once warmed
the bones of sev­en kids.
A moth-eat­en quilt draped
on the wick­er rocker
near the thirsty hand pump
and rust­ed steel basin.
Sev­en­ty years of beer bottles
pornog­ra­phy, unfurled condoms
and tramp cut cans
clut­tered the room
with a bat­tered antique mattress
atop a crooked,
hand-hewn cher­ry bed frame
that moaned of mar­i­tal obligation
and teenage twiddling.

Out back,
the shoul­der-wide track
of white, Alaba­ma sand
began at the door; it wound
through the row of sycamores
and down the lane
to where the peanuts and cotton
were planted.
An old mule plow
rest­ed in the corner
along a short stone wall,
the rem­nants of leather reins
limp against blade,
half-sunken into the earth
wait­ing to work once more.

the field and homestead
the smoke­house leaned on
a stack of hickory
wedged between the splin­tered side
and the bloom­ing chin­aber­ry bush.
Under­neath the rot­ting foundation
a hole
with some liv­ing thing inside
unaware of the dozers
idling nearby
to tear
it all


Daniel Ruef­man is an emerg­ing poet whose work has most recent­ly appeared in SLAB, The Fer­tile Source, Tonopah Review, and Temenos.  He recent­ly com­plet­ed his Ph.D. in Com­po­si­tion and TESOL from Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, and cur­rent­ly teach­es writ­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wisconsin–Stout.


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