It's now a condo. Swank and sweetened
with upgrades: chrome, granite and laminated wood.
Outside, it's vintage brick with black-painted shutters,
scuff marks left by the heels of age and climate.
They walk along these walls still waiting
for others to come back who will never return.
The upper half was a loft where a woman
illustrated stories for children. Bench and drawing board
became the polished harbor where her ideas
docked in the evening hours. A tide of lemon oil
and lamplight flooding the room. The bottom half
her book shop where antique volumes
lodged haphazardly on oaken shelves. A china bull dog
lingered near the window, ready to bark
if any of the characters should whisper or shout
from their spine-sewn books. And once-in-awhile
a stray bird would fly through the doorway
looking to land someplace quaint. Like that corner
where cobwebs and ivy tangled in a space
left for harbingers of classic things --or trends to soon occur.
It might have been the yellow finch
Hester saw flitting among her garden plants, the mocking bird
Scout heard in a magnolia tree - or what I remember.
The swallow pecking at the casement's chipped paint
as if morse-coding a message of how the house
of narrative would fall.
Notes -- Hester alludes to Hester Pyrnne, the adulteress, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel about sin and redemption in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letter.. Scout refers to Harper Lee's tomboy in To Kill A Mockingbird.