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  • Shutters

    by Glenn Currier

    From the road I can see the details of aging
    on the old abandoned house,
    its rickety closed shutters,
    its boards bare and its shingles torn
    by too many storms.

    I walk up the fractured sidewalk
    weeds sprouting from every crack.
    I open the door
    and immediately
    I’m assaulted
    by the heavy gray scent of old dust and mold.
    In the quiet, a muddle of motes float
    in a shaft of sunlight.

    I wonder how many stories and memories
    are hidden here
    how many babies crawled its floors
    how many meals were cooked and served
    how many nights of making love
    or caring for sick children.

    In the silence I listen
    for the sounds trapped in the timbers:
    the arguments, the lullabies,
    the children’s laughter.

    And on the far wall
    thanks to that beam of light
    I see a single frame hanging cockeyed.
    I approach, and there in the middle of a scraggly wall
    a green meadow, deer grazing,
    birds in flight,
    and in the foreground
    a bumblebee on a bright purple thistle.

    I turn and look toward the windows.
    Outside the sun is shining
    but inside it is cold and mostly dark.

    I walk over and push open the shutters.
    And only then, as I turn, I see
    the children’s heights marked on a side wall
    the floor worn bare by decades of coming and going
    the abrasion and dent on the wall
    made by the back of a rocking chair.

    . . . . . .

    I wonder how I shutter my house,
    block out the light
    keep people from seeing what’s inside:
    the worn places
    the cracks in the walls
    the dark corners where I hide the unacceptable.

    How do others shutter their houses
    houses with rough exteriors
    but hiding so much richness inside?

    Maybe the next time I see an unappealing someone
    I can take the trouble
    to walk up the fractured path,
    open the door,
    and become
    a shaft of sunlight
    through the shutters.

    “Shutters,” Copyright © 2015 by Glenn Currier