by Willa P. Koretz and Annes McCann-Baker


The house stands as it has For 34 years, nothing moving Behind the 3 identical windows, The 2 larger ones at the bottom. No car has driven up to The white, tree-shaded garage, No wind rustles the trees, no Flower has dropped its petals

In this perfect, painted portrait Of my childhood home. The Red shutters frame an interior Life, hidden from view; & the House itself is so large, that the Backyard is not visible at all. But The blue spruce & various maples Stand tall & protect the house from Whatever it is that goes on inside The windows,

The grass in the portrait is smooth And uneven green, less prickly Than it was under my feet & the Marigolds & lemon verbena not Fragrant inside the frame, at all. I am not in the front yard, waiting For my father to drive up in his Big, blue Buick, nor are the Neighborhood children wheeling Their bicycles up the drive, calling My name.

No drops of water from the neighbor’s Hose are falling errantly into the Picture, nor is my mother beating A rug over the balcony, nor doing Any other archetypal gesture that She did not do, even then.

Still, the portrait captures the Carefree mood of my youngest days: All the trees standing tall, no Limbs bent or broken, the sky a Pale but vibrant blue, clouds Scudding across it, but not Obscuring the sun. The shadows Falling against the house front, But lightly, as the sun is still Summer-high in the sky, with No hint yet of Autumn. The Balance inside the frame of House & land & sky, serene & Perfect. So perfect, you could Weep.

–Willa P. Koretz

September 2001 America

The acorns are falling It’s autumn again… My tin roof takes them One by one.

One nation indivisible Fingers those outside the tribe. We stumble over blocks of pride Even knowing The end can’t justify the livid.

But in our fear We rattle that oak tree Artificially And make the earth shiver. It can’t evacuate.

–Annes McCann-Baker

Willa P. Koretz lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. Recently she purchased land in Costa Rica and has begun to build a “long, lofted writer’s studio,” where she hopes to host individual writers’ retreats and workshops. The country of Ecuador has been another deep source of inspiration for her work and life.

Annes McCann-Baker is editor of three series of books on the Middle East, published by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UT-Austin and the University of Texas Press. One of the series focuses on translations of fiction and poetry from Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. She has been writing poetry for twenty years.

–Naomi Shihab Nye

You May Also Like:

Published at 12:00 am CST