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I owned a Little House by the River

The Brain is a Noodle
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The view was operatic–
My yard, the slope, the river rock,
The water, the further shore,
Fields, sometimes deer, raccoons,
The highway, concrete stream curving up the hill
Past crops, an apple orchard,
Farm buildings on the far horizon.

I hung a birdfeeder on my deck
Fed nuthatches, titmice
Evening grosbeaks
The river splashed high in April,
Trickled through August;
The field tilled, seeded, harvested;
The orchard bloomed, fruited, dropped.

I played Wagner, der Valkyrie.

One spring a bluebird nested,
Fledged four chicks.
I moved across the continent,
Fledged children, picked apples,
Missed those birds, that feeder,
Titmice, grosbeaks.

One fall, after I’d gone,
An inland hurricane poured into that creek.
Winds drove rain from the hills,
Torrents carried the house away,
Scoured the yard, the trees, the fields,
Left the view to the deer, bluebirds.
My foundation filled.
The lot grows dandelions,
Queen Anne’s Lace.

Perhaps an old friend drives by,
Says “her home used to be there”
And soon, no one will know
I owned a little house by the river.


previously published in The Timberline Review, 2020

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4 Responses

  1. Keta McCarthy
    | Reply

    Very lovely, Sharon. I enjoyed reading your touching poem.

  2. Cheryl Layne West
    | Reply

    I owned a little house in the desert where the coyotes howled every night, the owl flew silently, and the bats dove and banked under the porch. The sun rose behind the joshua trees every morning where the fox and rabbit and quail visited the pond, a tiny shallow basin I called the pond. When it rained hard up in the hills the arroyo outside my bedroom door ran over two rock waterfalls and on down into the valley, sometimes for days.
    I no longer live there.
    I hope the people who do love everything they see and hear and smell there too.

  3. janesalisbury
    | Reply

    This is lovely and moving, Sharon. Thank you.

  4. Jane
    | Reply

    Beautifully poignant! I also owned a little house by a river, and long to go back. I’ll keep this poem on my desktop to remind me.

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