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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017
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Jenny Ward Angyal
Gibsonville, North Carolina, USA


Tangible Light

I am five years old. A man is cutting a hole through the wall of my house. When I ask him why, he says he is taking my house down. Silently, I begin to weep. I don't know that he is joking. I don't know that he is getting ready to build an addition for my grandmother. I know only that the house is like my skin: I cannot imagine living outside of it.

windowpanes
of rippled glass—
light filters
through my eyelids,
illuminates my dreams

My parents bought the house for $3000 not long after they married in 1944. It had stood on its hilltop under the soaring elms since about 1780, a New England farmhouse with a central stone chimney shared by two big fireplaces.

firelight
flickers in a cozy room . . .
popcorn pops
and goblins dance,
keeping out the dark

But that memory comes later. . . . When my parents first moved in, the fireplaces were the only source of heat, and a copper pipe from a spring on the back hill was the only source of water. One night a storm threatened to topple a wing of the house; my father propped it up with two-by-fours. The space above the sagging ceiling in the living room was filled with hundreds of clamshells—why? My parents wondered and cleaned and fixed, and cleaned and fixed some more. By the time I was three I was eager to help.

a juice can
full of house paint—
the child
daubs sunlight
on the walls of home

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