How to Deconstruct a Home
Like his ramshackle homilies
preacher Mulligan fabricated
his graceless cottage by the sea
adding on one room at a time.
Laying asbestos tiles he belittled
Nellie, his wife, who sought refuge
on her knees among foxglove, broad beans
and yellow squash. Built too close to the ground
now floors sag like worn out phrases
tree roots choke pipes like calumnies.
The ochre bulldozer bludgeons
the red shingled roof, eats the war-surplus-
painted walls for breakfast
the windows for lunch
the pipes for supper
then chews and scatters the remains.
By nightfall Nellie's ghost keens
not for her preacher but for her
salt-encrusted cottage, her gone-to-seed
garden. Her billowing skirt
luffs over the churned plot
like a shrouded sail.