Sarah Carleton writes poetry, edits fiction, plays the banjo, and knits obsessively in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and New Ohio Review. Her first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Books.
Before leaving the Finger Lakes for the long trip south
we stop by a house where I once lived with a friend
and find the porch rotted and the windows heaped
with branches, no laundry hanging, no broccoli in rows.
I’ve daydreamed about walnuts hammering that roof
in autumn and the hills unfolding below and how,
forty years ago, the place was already decrepit—
rats scrabbling in the walls, cold blowing through the cracks
and us dancing in the living room not like young Americans
but like pagans at a ruin, honoring the ancients.
Now the inside looks dark as mud, not a space for humans
anymore. I hear the breaker box buzzing
behind the brambles and say, The power is on!
then realize the rusted metal hums not with electricity
but from a gathering of bees singing the house to the other side.