This Old House                                                                                                    —Safia Jama

          after Bob Vila

Today we convert this puddle
of words into a windowpane.

Outside, the rain.
My brother and I are out in it.

We run and splash and play and—
No ... I’m alone in my room, writing.

  In the rain
       all the smokers are lovers again

Be sure to have all your materials ready.
Father, methodically killing the rose bush.
Ash, ash goes the green.

In the rain there rises a wall,
formal as Berlin. See how
the walls melt into rot?

Welcome to This Old House.

Today we will build
a kingdom out of a crown.

Dad’s belt,
and Mother’s frown.


photo: Jess X. Snow

photo: Jess X. Snow

Safia Jama is a Cave Canem graduate fellow, born to a Somali father and an Irish-American mother in Queens, New York. Her manuscript was a semi-finalist in the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018