portion of the artwork for Kevin Casey's poem

Poverty
Kevin Casey

Country-poor, summer-poor and young,
we were content in that first house that drifted
like a derelict barge among the bluestem

and chicory on its dead end lane.
We didn’t notice the pickets of light
passing through gaps in the painted floorboards,

the curled shingles and rotted soffits,
didn’t mind the chimney’s missing crown,
or the porch that lurched toward the dirt dooryard.

Mornings washed our bed with primrose
on a damp breeze; whippoorwills and crickets
sang us to sleep. But after the first fall snows,

we began to dread the furnace moaning
awake in the night, to resent every drop
of oil it drank, and our breath that wheeled

in a frozen tracery at the kitchen table.
The night I forgot to turn off the oven,
the heat climbed through the ceiling to find us

sleeping, nestled in our parsimony, and
the sweet smell of antique joist and beam
suffused our dreams like summer returning.

I awoke to another meager dawn
finding you asleep, your cheeks still flushed,
so sorry you’d have to wake back into winter.



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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017