The Open House

Then one afternoon, when we opened all the windows
of that big house to the autumn's late afternoon chill
just to let the stuffy air free, just to let
that house feel the clean air inside itself, and a small bird
  
flew in and all through the rooms, never touching
anything, then flew back out another
window and was gone, and a cooler breeze
followed it then, and made the curtains sway
  
as though there were someone behind them, some child
we hadn't yet met, hiding like we sometimes did;
and then my father put a record on the stereo
because the evening was blowing through the house
  
like music, and we were all walking from room
to room just feeling the air, which was different
inside the house than out, though out there
the tang of the trees was more vivid, and the trees
  
held migrating birds and stars, and so my father
played a Benny Goodman tune he'd loved in the navy,
"Sing! Sing! Sing!"—the one with the Gene Krupa
solo to start it, a song that's pretty much
  
forgotten by now. We stood there in the darkening
room as the breezes whipped through; I could see
his eyes glistened brightly as he listened, though
I knew he wasn't crying—he'd loved that tune
  
in the navy he told us again, when he was
just a kid from Brooklyn. "Look at me now,"
he said with a smile in his voice, and I think
he danced just a little, though I couldn't tell for sure
  
since the room was truly dark by then. And then he put it on again.
The Flood
Michael Hettich
Hettich_cover

The Flood

Michael Hettich

Floating Wolf Quarterly Cover_wolf