“They move the house from the hills to the mountains
on the back of a pickup truck.”
Two Poems – Madeleine Walker
They move the house from the hills to the mountains
on the back of a pickup truck.
First they take it down to its bones.
The planks, the beams, the wood cells of it.
They put it back up in Garrison,
overlooking the river, an apple orchard nearby.
The walls come together and the floors realign
in a sigh, like a spirit re-enters the body. Like waking.
How does Baudelaire feel spoken out of French?
Who is the lover, the spirit, the poem newly formed?
Do novels, in other tongues, ever lose windows and doors?
Do they ever open into new rooms? And what does the body,
interpreted by a new lover’s touch, turn to? Is it love
to be reassembled elsewhere, in a new language, to be moved
from Montrose to the mountains, and re-built?
To be taken apart and put together again.
Is that what it is to be loved well?
The lucky ones translated on the other side.
Sometimes, a phrase too ramshackle.
A body too broken.
Whole rooms lost along the highway.
Upstate, the farmers gather in their crops.
When dawn comes they drive south,
from Ulster through the Catskills,
to the market nearby.
At the fruit stand a man sells nectarines.
As large as disappointment.
As bruised, as soft.