The First Small Symptom

The First Small Symptom

This house
its green lawn
it should be just one of the many
trimmed filed shaped cut clipped
tame perfect yards on this street

but this house
its grass exerts aggression
not pushed back against
it layers subtle increments
of the too tall
into the ragged and the irregular
it is the unnoticed presence of imperfection
a symptom

my practiced eye can read
for how things are
and for how they aren’t
for where the gaps open
and where they expose

and when I run my hands
over the shape of things
I find this unquiet house
fixed in the silent turns
of a mechanism now set in motion
some shadowy misfortune
arriving if not already here

My eyes slide away.
I move on down the sidewalk.


3 thoughts on “The First Small Symptom

  1. This poem could describe a house in my neighborhood that everyone is up in arms about. It appears to have been abandoned by its owner sometime in the past two years. Neighbours have been cutting the grass just to keep the wildlife pests down but the roof also partially collapsed when a tree fell on it during a storm and it has not been repaired so the rate of dilapidation is now accelerating. It makes me feel sad rather than angry.

    • I do wonder how people can allow this to happen since a house is an considerable asset, but I think sometimes there are family issues, or inheritance questions, and sometimes…just simple spite. I think there is a house like this in almost every neighborhood that has been around for a while. It seems to be a necessary character in the landscape, just like there are always gossipy coworkers or the kid in the back row who sleeps through class?

      • I never met the owner and know nothing about him. I also choose not to listen to neighbourhood gossip. I, therefore, don’t know the background story. I just hope that at some point the house can move on to new owners and become a home again.

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