Spring 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 2 Poetry |

The Sleep of Wood in the Houses of Wrens

It's not the wrens but the girl in overalls and a blouse, his daughter, he talks to cutting and sanding the wood to build the perfect houses the wrens will only come to if he doesn't paint them. He used to paint them, red and green, and they stayed unvisited until they rotted into gray and fell off for weeks in pieces she'd pick up to save, because it seemed to her, let's say, something needed to be saved. Nothing was. But the splinter that festered in her finger from one of the gray shards, the one she didn't tell her father about but pinched and pushed until she gave up and let it rot its way into her blood, that dead wood went dormant. Sleep infected her years later, in another state, where wrens had so many houses built for them they were transient, their song a reminder that everything just keeps going and then is gone. Like that shop thick with the refuse of wood, like the garden with wrens singing Oklahoma into a state where a man who once drove a truck could landscape his ba

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