Open House

Jane Schapiro

Image of Jane Schapiro

Jane Schapiro

Open House was selected as part of MSU Library Short Edition's call for submissions on the theme of "Home," in coordination with the MSU Broad Art Museum's exhibition "Where We Dwell." Jane Schapiro is the author of three volumes of poetry, the 2020 Nautilus Book Award Silver Winner Warbler (Kelsay Books, 2020), Let The Wind Push Us Across (Antrim House 2017), Tapping This Stone (winner of the Washington Writers' Publishing House Award, 1995) and the nonfiction book Inside a Class Action: The Holocaust and the Swiss Banks (University of Wisconsin, 2003). Mrs. Cave's House won the 2012 Sow's Ear Poetry Chapbook competition.

In this suburban prefab home,
the ordinary catches one's eye:
a dog, a child. Snout
pressed against her back,
he nudges her.
She yelps with delight.

There must be a name
for moments like these,
when gestures cross,
needs interweave.
A term to call that pause
when the goldfish and I peer

through the bowl. Perhaps these behaviors
date back to Zeus. To Venus
on her scallop shell, her hair
still tangled with the sea, or Leda
inside the Swan, that fiery
blur of leg and wing.

Here there are no
wild joy rides,
no kinky midnight
brouhahas. Nevertheless, desires
converge—a houseplant, a cat,
share a corner of light.

These mutual acts are our only proof.
Scattered like empty beer cans,
they're souvenirs from that Fabulous Age
when the universe hosted
an open house, forms
mingled like drunken guests.

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