Theresa Burns

Letter to My Almost Former House
November 29, 2021 Burns Theresa

Letter to My Almost Former House


It’s true, I’m getting ready to leave you.
You’re big and cold and expensive, and like any old lover,
I’ve begun to badmouth you to friends.
Once you were the center of my expanded life,
full-skirted host to my largesse. Display case
for dead aunt breakfronts and thrift store taste.
A cool backyard of Japanese maple and pine,
four types of hydrangea, and family close by. Come in, come in—
I’d coo to neighbors, meter readers, college friends
out from the city. Sorry it’s a mess, though I’d swept
through your rooms like a hurricane. Twice I held
Thanksgiving here, that deadly sin of pride,
and thirty chairs etched scars on your floors.
Now the dining room sits empty. The staircase quiet.
The gaudy bills pile up and the flooding
holds us under. Soon someone else will sit out back
on jasmine evenings, share a cigarette and two fingers
of good whiskey while the kids fall asleep, compare
your century-old body to a big bucket of cream.

Theresa Burns’ poetry, reviews, and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, New Ohio Review, JAMA, America Magazine, The Cortland Review, The Night Heron Barks, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of the chapbook Two Train Town. Her first full-length collection of poems, Design, will be published in Spring 2022 by Terrapin Books.  A long-time book editor, she is the founder of Watershed Literary Events and teaches writing in and around New York.