They’ll paint the yellow siding blue or beige,
tear out the carpeting, stained and worn
with our steps and mishaps, promptly raze
the shoddy porch, its door lost in a storm.
They’ll pave the driveway’s pits and cracks, rewire
that light and fix the railing, change the mailbox
we changed ourselves, once, after that fire,
replace the bedroom doors, their useless locks.
They’ll take a hammer to the outdated kitchen,
its chipped and dusty drawers, pull up the old
vinyl floor, finally put a dishwasher in.
And scrape the stippled ceiling smooth, its gold
glitter we left untouched for seventeen years,
living just fine beneath those night-and-day stars.
Elise Hempel grew up in suburban Chicago and has worked as an editor, proofreader, copywriter and university English instructor. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, Measure, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, and The Midwest Quarterly, as well as in Poetry Daily and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award and the winner of the 2015 Able Muse Write Prize in Poetry, the 2016 String Poet Prize, and the 2017 No Chair Press Chapbook Contest. Her full-length collection of poems, Second Rain, was published by Able Muse Press in 2016. She lives in central Illinois.
© 2019, Elise Hempel