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Friday, October 17, 2008


by Kate Bernadette Benedict

What you've done to the place!
One could whirl all over in a rapture of sprawl.
I never imagined there was this much space.

Elbow room, manifest destiny—
let us not underrate what you've achieved.
Every detail merits scrutiny.

Underfoot, good wood.
Overhead, a coffering.
And over there, where empty shelves could

hold a thousand books,
more there; beyond,
a kitchen for a thousand cooks.

But sister, little mother won't come in.
That's her, keening in the side yard.
Banshee wails, giving us this goose skin.

She says you've spent too much and overbuilt
and took out mortgages you'll never pay
and gave away her fine ancestral quilt.

Fine, then! Swipe the air and turn your face
away. The crisis is coming.
You will lose this place.

Kate Bernadette Benedict is the author of the full-length poetry collection Here from Away and the editor of Umbrella: A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose.