This House

The smell has gone, 
the closed but now opened-up, 
why-don’t-you-come-here-more-often smell. 
And all the words 
we never use anymore 
must be hiding in these cupboards 
with the nearly-decks of cards 
and the baby oil. 
Rubber balls under the deck 
without the rubbery smell, 
and absent birds gone 
from absent trees. 
These wet bricks aren’t chancy, 
like he called them once. 
They’re just wet. 
Clean isolation now 
This quiet takes our breath from us, 
takes the ends of sentences. 
We can’t see our sepia selves 
Can’t smell the Banana Boat 
and smoke. 
Silence instead of the ripping of sweetcorn from husks. 


Elizabeth Russell currently lives in Hawke’s Bay where she works in the arts sector and as a freelance writer. She was a member of the 2009 MA class at the IIML.