How I loved
each bare floor, each
naked wall, the shadows on
newly empty halls.
By day, my head humming
to itself of dreams, I cleaned and
to make life
new; dislodging from the corner,
moths and cicadas
pinned to the screen, the carcasses
dangling from beams,
and each window sill's clutter of
and dead bees. But,
through each opening, each closing door,
the old life
returns on six legs, or
spins a musty web as it roosts over
a poison pot, or
descends from above
to drink blood in. This is how it
settling in-the press
of wilderness returns to carved-out space, to skin.
About This Poem
"This is a poem about an effort to move on with a new life in a newly emptied house and, ultimately, about how adhesive old patterns can be. What do I see when I look at bare walls? In the bare, freed-up space, I create a new projection of my old brokenness. The stanza I used in 'Settling In' looks (superficially) a bit like Elizabeth Bishop's 'Rooster' stanza. I always experience this shape as a kind of architecture, a rhythmic triangle, like bricks of breath. However, Bishop (the form's inventor) and her excellent roosters made a ruckus in stanzas of mono-rhyme. My triangular stanzas seem to be trying hard to avoid their own rhymes-until at last, rhyme has to face itself and clips the poem shut."
About Jenny Factor
Jenny Factor is the author of "Unraveling at the Name" (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). She teaches at Antioch University in Los Angeles, where she also lives.
*** The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.
(c) 2014 Jenny Factor. Distributed by King Features Syndicate