The Martin House
Down the hill, where the ground gives way,
he erected the Martin house, calling
the broad-chested swallows
to this artificial home, hoping to establish
a colony of blue-purple feathers, mottled browns, their high
arcing flights beside the creek, their flitting shadows
weaving a lacework of hunt and lope, gathering
dragonflies in aerial predation, at altitudes above
where the eye normally rests, as if
the eye drawn higher up would follow the birds back
to the hotel of hollowed windows, where
he’d duly followed the instructions: mounted between ten and fifteen feet
high, facing southwest, no brush below, the exterior painted
white, opened in spring, with pine chips
waiting inside. From inside, we could see him
raising and lowering the pole, when we were there.
That row of rooms, waiting for occupants
to replace our own row of rooms
empty of occupants on Monday, Thursday and Friday, and every other Sunday.
A hotel of hollowed windows, making bedfellows
of strangers; he watched for interlopers—the House Sparrows or European
Starlings that will steal the nests, fill the house to crowding. The barn
with the common sparrows is only up the hill, and the trees crowd too close,
and the Martins never come, no matter how much he tends
to their tending. We watch out the windows
on Wednesdays and Tuesdays, on Saturdays and every other Sunday,
the arrival and dwelling of near neighbors of mistrust.
C. Kubasta is the author the chapbooks A Lovely Box and &s, and a full-length collection, All Beautiful & Useless (BlazeVOX, 2015). Her next book, Of Covenants, is forthcoming from Whitepoint Press in 2017. She is active with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and serves as Assistant Poetry editor with Brain Mill Press. She thinks poetry, like humor, porn, and horror, should be a body genre. Find her at http://www.ckubasta.com.