What have I built?

Porch Sitting in Alamo, Texas (Lee Russell, 1939)

I suppose it has something to do with the porch

where I opened the trinket shop, selling lumps 

of gravel and dandelions through the letterbox,

or the cockle shells arranged in a witch’s seance 

along the edges of our rug, inhaling the smell

of settled soot, door shut, waiting for life to happen.


Then something larger – the damp playhouse

under laurel leaves where I scrawled across the walls 

in green – no roads, just trees – and later, two garish

bedrooms in two parents’ houses, the car with no 

door handles, the dorm room’s family of silver fish.


As years went by my architecture got invisible –

things grew from me. Though lately I’ve come back

to the blueprints. Assembled chairs for friends 

who do not visit, built a little porch from matchsticks

and a tube of glue, step by step

stick by stick as if I’d forgotten how already.


Now you ask what I have built and my mouth forms

the shape of nothing. Nothing of consequence.

Published by Ruth Beddow

Poet, writer and heritage professional based in London, UK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: