The Wandering Daughter Returns to Her Neglected Patrimony

From the half-finished bunker of the concrete basement
That was to be the foundation of our now-abandoned
Familial abode that I will neither finish nor furnish
Nor people with young from my rebel womb,
I throw my gaze down the hill of dead orchard,
Across the green lake poisoned with runoff, to the far-side
Fields of sodden rye where from the lead belly of the sky
Snake tongues of violet lightning.

The air shudders with ozone and cracks;
The spear of the black iron lightning rod running
Along the red brick church tower of the old Prussian spire
Conjures down heaven’s fire through rusted-red rebar,
Down to the grounding-rod deep in red clay.

Like a spilled bag of steel bearings
The rain rolls down the fiberglass roof.

The black guard dog whimpers locked in his pen
Lest he bite me again, waiting for nightfall when he’ll pant
The perimeter of the chain link fence from hilltop spruce
To lakeside rowan, patrolling the dry orchard
My uncle let die as he drank year by year
His caretaker’s funds never believing
Anyone would return.

First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.

Church in Gryźliny, Poland.