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  • Writer's pictureNeuro Logical

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.

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