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The Potential in Architecture

an intact family, happy if not strong

Published onFeb 08, 2023
The Potential in Architecture

Photo by Catherine Kay Greenup:

The art of the possible
in the ranch-style house
circa the summer before
the sick cries  
of digestive mishaps rang out 
like the first message 
by telegraph: what hath God
wrought in his wisdom 
of making some deaf, and others

awful, intolerably loud; the builder
followed the hearing woman’s
specifications so echoes would
travel paths between bedrooms
and backyard; an addition she called
a service porch, the appliances
digging holes in the floor
as they jerked with too much power

still voices had to indulge in area and diameter
if they were to navigate doors
and corners; it’s uncivilized, the mother complained
as her daughters completed thoughts
that had dwindled to mere tinctures of
what was meant, or needed to be said,
instructions playing off the hollowness

of stucco and lumber, concrete on slab, 
the pouring of tar or gravel,
an intact family, happy if not strong,
diabolically sober; who else
could say as much, where there was
no television before homework; 
no pets without the approval of the grandmother;
the neighbors will know everything
at this rate, the decibels and evening
meal held at an unholy hour
but for the fugitive sprint of pubescent
bare feet, pounding on hardwood
as if elephants called into battle.  

 Jane Rosenberg LaForge writes poetry, fiction, and occasional essays from her home in New York City. Her new collection of poetry is My Aunt's Abortion (BlazeVOX [books] 2023). She is the author of three other collections, four chapbooks of poetry, a memoir, and two novels. Her most recent novel, Sisterhood of the Infamous (New Meridian Arts Press 2021), was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards in regional fiction (west). 

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