Home > Poetry > The Yellow House, 1978
Published: Fri Oct 15 1999
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
The Yellow House, 1978

The kitchen in the house had a nook for eating, a groove
for the broom behind the door and the woman moved through
it like bathing, reaching ladles from drawers, turning to lift

the milk from the refrigerator while still stirring the pudding,
as if the room and everything in it were as intimate to her as her
body, as beautiful and worthy of her attention as the elbows

which each day she soothed with rose lotion or the white legs
she lifted, again and again, in turn, while watching television.
To be in that room must be what it was like to be the man

next to her at night, or the child who, at six o’clock, had stood
close enough to smell the wool of her sweater through the steam,
and later, at the goodnight kiss, could breathe the flavor of her hair—

codfish and broccoli—and taste the coffee, which was darkness
on her lips, and listen then from upstairs to the water running
down, the mattress drifting down the river, a pale moonmark

on the floor, and hear the clink of silverware—the stars, their distant
speaking—and trust the ceiling—the back of a woman kneeling,
holding up the bed, the roof, the cooling sky and covering the heart.

See what's inside AGNI 50

The second book of poems by Maggie Dietz is That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2015). She is also the author of Perennial Fall (Chicago, 2006) and co-editor of three anthologies related to her longtime work on the Favorite Poem Project. More recent poems appear in Harvard Review, AGNISalamagundi, and Ploughshares. She has taught undergraduate workshops at Boston University and now teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. (updated 10/2015)

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