Two Poems

Robert VanderMolen

A House

A calendar under the couch
Was several years old. It wasn’t
My house. A note with crisp
Letters, You are the love
Of my life. I drank my coffee
On a window seat watching
Spring snow fall like sugar-cubes

*

Men were mulling
The career of Senator Vandenberg

Candles played across mirrors
To a repeating pause
In the wallpaper

A polite house
Like my aunt’s we visited
At Easter, before the road
To the lake expanded to four lanes
Past muck farms
Past onion and poultry warehouses

*

Flowers, subdued flowers
In the large Turkish rug, while ladies
Played canasta on leafy afternoons

The kitchen, round arches,
A screened porch where ivy edged
To cross-braces

Air filtering up and down
Then sideways
Depending on the hour

A spraygun for ants

There was that Clare Booth Luce business
One said, any substance to that?

*

Light echoing down the stairs
Where laundry equipment was aligned,
Stored furniture, a sense of foreboding

A handgun in a dresser drawer
A leeking vial of something
Like lubricant

Associations

How our mothers appeared
When young, a wonderment

The dressings of time,
Unscrolling bark of birch

And what was invented
For our protection, kicking

A curb after church, a pearly
Sky

*

This hero needs discipline
Or no one will love him

Do I need so many critics?
Where’s the distance

The confidence? The nodding
Heads of wild plants

After another cold night.
Even the dog seems

Skulky. Skidmarks
Past the gazebo and onto a wharf

Where I watched from a tall room
Arms over a radiator

Once

*

We’d had a few drinks
Some months before he grew ill

His memory had made
Realignments

Generous rural bridges.
That night beech nuts fell

Thickly

The pulley assembly hanging
Beside the gun rack

How many years it had been
Slung there temporarily

*

Dan’s Dad said, the more
You mature

The more graphically
You think about sex

Getting to the nub of it

As he liked to believe
He did