Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The House on the Hill

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The House on the Hill

Article excerpt

You see it almost every evening in the fall

with the light on in an upstairs room.

And once a woman flashed across the pane

coming home-then flashed again-a dance

in early October to music either classical

or jazz. Later you let her whirl

inside the mind, voice of Placido Domingo

blasting on the stereo, a blur of purple scarves

preventing identification of the soul

that sang above the words,

casting a crooked shadow on the wall.

In summer when those stupendous trees take up

their gowns, that house is lost to the driver

on the highway. No winding path

visible beneath the radiance of the porch.

No blossoming white ivy along the walkway.

But sometimes the light itself

can be glimpsed, if the wind is blowing hard,

and you note the terrible loneliness

of the place-and you want to know

what mystery lives within this far enclosure.

Slow your car, lowering your window.

Suppose you were the father of a four-year-old

and found yourself not wanting to go home.

Suppose your fingers ached from twisting

a knife along a precipice of bone at Hormel Packing,

meat slung onto a belt making its slow way

toward somebody's fork in Oklahoma. …

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