South Fork Poetry: ‘My House’

By Walter Donway

I lived a boy in a white house,

Time beneath the titan elms unknown,

A house apart in a green yard:

I lived as though a boy alone.

Linoleum in blue-white swirls

Held secrets on the bathroom floor:

The Joker’s gaunt, malicious face,

A snake that eased beneath the door.

The barn’s loft with its lidless stare,

An elbow of the apple tree,

Peered in my window all night long

And by moonlight went watching me.

Crouched in the shadowed middle hall,

Behind the old clothes rack, each night

A patient, wanting ghost dared me

To sprint again toward friendly light.

When I unlatched the sticky door

That sealed the huddled attic stair

I knew somehow why that old gun —

That stolid, bygone gun — leaned there.

No one can know the house I knew,

My house alone until the day

I left, and never could go back.

What child can ever choose to stay?


Walter Donway lives in East Hampton. “My House” is included in the “Long Island Sounds” poetry anthology for 2015, published by the North Sea Poetry Scene. Its release will be celebrated with a reading on Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Briarcliffe College’s Patchogue campus.