Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1997 |

Our Ruin

Quid est in hominis natura diu? "She's reading about what endures."   In and by this outcry I shall deliver myself from the ruins of them that perish; for a man can do no more in this matter. "She's reading about the end of the world."   At the end of the lane, thick with red clay, pressed into ruts by the herringbone treads of the tractor wheels, stood the house. The front door was locked by a rusted padlock, but the back door stood wide open, wedged in the dirt at a permanent tilt. The scrolled screen door lay ripped and broken several feet away in the grass. Whatever had opened the house had pushed outward like a mild explosion, lodging and scattering nails and tin and shingles in vague patterns across the yard. You could enter without making a sound. Suddenly you would be inside: the air would be thick and still.   The house had been abandoned by our grandfather's cousin, George Finney Jordan, twenty years before. It had been the tenant house,

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Susan Stewart
Susan Stewart’s most recent book of poems is Red Rover. Last year she published a prose study, The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making. She is currently a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Read More

The Rose

By Susan Stewart

Quid est in hominis natura diu? "She's reading about what endures."   In and by this outcry I shall deliver myself from the ruins of them that perish; for a […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.