At the Periphery, Where Life Hums

A white box is not the house, the house
is not white. The house cannot be separated
from the white barn, which is also not white,
because the wood is rotting, and its silo
is silver. The beige Formica table
on its chrome legs cannot be removed
from the kitchen. There are always
Oatmeal Cream Pies in the cupboard.
But the children can leave, and have left,
and she remains with her mind separating
into blue and red. Now, someone must be paid
to remove the pins from her gray hair
and tie her shoes. There is an illusion
of life when the colors connect: the doll she carries
in her arms is the memory of all her children.
She hums to them. She still hums, though they
have grown and gone, and she cries, and in the corner,
Mary is mourning, and the Bible is always
open to a page. She may know the words by heart.
She may not understand them at all. Today, the pages
are blank. The Bible cannot be removed from the house.
The house is not white, the garden is not green, the apples
hang heavy and will soon collapse, covering the ground.

—Angela Voras-Hills