In art class,
Marjorie drew a house
that almost filled the whole paper.
She wasn’t happy with her creation.
There were no occupants to be seen.
The surrounding trees were gaunt as sticks.
The house had room and rooms enough.
But the front door was closed.
Same with the windows.
She wondered if the place had been abandoned.
The teacher looked over her shoulder.
“How will you ever pay the gas
and electricity for such a large house,”
the teacher asked.
“And where is the sky?”
The other kids had suns
to warm the houses they drew.
though she didn’t express it in any way,
was to warm and brighten everything from within.
Marjorie found it easy to draw houses.
So, at home, at school,
she always drew what she knew.
She continued to struggle with people.
Their roundness defeated her.
She preferred straight lines.
They were easy to account for.
And they didn’t look like anyone she feared.
When the teacher moved away,
Marjorie thought she heard a cry
coming from the second floor.
It sounded desperate. It sounded of great pain.
She grabbed her house, squeezed it into a ball.
It seemed to be the only way she could help.
She then took a clean sheet, drew another house.
Not as cold, not as dark, this time, she vowed.
—Published 8th January 2019
About John Grey
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.