Jean Nordhaus

The House

I never notice the façade.
All these visits happen at night.
Always the same house, mysterious
and unpredictable, shabby and rich.

I love the interior, so much larger than it looks
crammed with books, with teacups and hangings,
baskets, figurines, ancient pottery,
chessboards and puzzles,

with window seats, side pantries,
unexplained corridors, a maze
of possibility, a labyrinth
it’s easy to get lost in.

Who lives here, I wonder? Artists probably,
and intellectuals, eccentric scientists
who lead a more intentional life than I.
How many others have wandered these chambers

wrapped like me in their own desires?
House of dream, house of mystery
with its mountains and yeasty cellars,
its topsy-turvy stairways and, invariably,

an extra room I didn’t know was there.
Always, I wake enriched, just as
the house dissolves. Then the soul
climbs back into its body and goes to work.

Jean Nordhaus was the subject of our Closer Look in Innisfree 13. Her most recent collection is Memos from the Broken World (Mayapple Press, 2016). Her other books include Innocence, which won the Charles B. Wheeler Prize (The Ohio State University Press, 2006), The Porcelain Apes of Moses Mendelssohn (Milkweed Editions, 2002), My Life in Hiding (Quarterly Review of Literature, 1991), A Bracelet of Lies (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 1987) and two chapbooks, A Purchase of Porcelain and A Language of Hands.



Current Issue
Contributors' Notes

Email this poem Printer friendly page


Bruce J. Berger

Joe Bishop

Dan Campion

John Delaney

Katherine Fallon

David Lee Garrison

Ted Jean

Laurie Lamon

Michael Lauchlan

Sean Lause

Peter Leight

Laura Manuelidis

Susan McLean

Nicholas Molbert

Jesse Morales

James P. Nicola

Jean Nordhaus

Patric Pepper

Simon Perchik

John Perrault

Roger Pfingston

Mark Rubin

Michael Salcman

Andrew Szilvasy

Faith Williams

Terence Winch

Anne Harding Woodworth















Last Updated: Feb 22, 2020 - 12:30:13 PM

Copyright 2005 - 2020 Cook Communication.