Clearing house - Thad DeVassie
The annoying cuckoo on the wall
is doing more than telling time.
It is a looping soundtrack of space,
the one your mother struggled to maintain
after burying her husband, your father.
Packing what remains, you see the weight
of years is pulling apart the lower left corner
of a frame holding black and white portrait
of her and Sr. Margaret on the steps of St. James
the Less, Good Friday ’67,each with rosary
handcuffs, solemn faces, the long wait
until the great promise is accomplished.
The fire box is ashen, the mantle’s underside
charred black with memories of nights burned
under supervision from a poorly upholstered
couch, underfoot of this tattered rug
that many embers tried to erase. This is
no longer your home, will no longer be
a time capsule to visit and unearth nostalgia
masquerading for a feeling you can’t quite
define, to which you envy the cuckoo,
the habitual traveler with his predictable,
unwavering song, his door swinging wide
until you hammer it shut, making time stand still.
Thad DeVassie is a writer and painter from Columbus, Ohio. He is a recipient of the 2020 James Tate International Poetry Prize for his manuscript SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES.(via SurVision, also of Dublin, Ireland). His chapbook, THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA, will arrive in 2021 from Cervena Barva Press.