Damages Akin

Dropped into Westchester woods, the house,
circa 1920s Hollywood, sits on Somers Hill.
Deeded to the county, it rots.
I stumble in,
past a pried plywood door,
ducking paint shreds that hang bat-like.
An underfoot crunch
of porcelain and marble,
sledgehammered and scattered
like spilled cereal around holes,
cratering the floorboards;
along pocked walls lean
warped drawers, foot-through doors
of the hacked hutch;
bay windows, punched out,
invite crows that come and go.
A dead few stick
in feathered shadow to the floor.
The living room’s fireplace bears
its switchblade scars with ease.
In the orange of late winter afternoon,
a vandalized light
steals over the upstairs emptiness, where
there’s so much story,
I strain to listen.
On a bedroom wall, someone scrawled,
“Why did you abandon me?”

The riddled house waits on answer,
keeping its sun-braised memories to itself.
Despair draws her lathed shawl.
I’ll keep going back,
dwelling with the hidden homeless.

No one can steal ghosts.

About the Author

A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle holds an MFA and doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. In addition to attending the Sarah Lawrence Summer Writing Institute for several years, she was accepted to the Bread Loaf Conferences in both Middlebury and Sicily in 2016 as well as the Sewanee Writers’ Conference this year. This year marks the fourth that she has been honored to be a scholarship participant at the Frost Place Summer Writing Program. Her poetry has appeared or is upcoming in apt, Bluestem Magazine, Broad River Review, The Cape Rock, Chicago Quarterly Review, Delmarva Review, The Dickinson Review, Juked, Lindenwood Review, Menacing Hedge, The Midwest Quarterly, OxMag, Pennsylvania English, The Round, Storyscape, Streetlight Magazine, Talking River, Zoned, and Westchester Review, among others, while her dissertation was published as Writing Reconstruction: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Her chapbook, Black Wick was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Tupelo Snowbound Chapbook Contest.