Open House – A Poem by James Gabriel

Richard Whitney – Matinee

Submitted by James Gabriel

they drove to the
farmhouse that fall
the realtor left the
key under the mat

he walked upstairs
she heard the
creak of the floorboards
as he inspected the rooms

he’ll say no
she thought, he’ll
say no
she walked into the

kitchen and looked out the
window at the damp
leaves and the car
a thin vapor trailing off the hood

wallpaper peeling in a
corner, she tore a tiny piece
folding it, placing it
in her pocket. she heard

him walking down the stairs
and beginning to walk towards him
in the front of the house but
stops and stands

in the dark
of the hallway
“Ellen.” he called.
she did not reply

looked at him poking
around for her
“Goddammit.” He
muttered under his breath

walking out the front
door and the damp leaves
and the red car with the
warm hood

About the Poet

James Gabriel is a writer and poet who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.  His first collection of poetry, BLACK ATLAS, was published earlier this year.  He is currently working on his first collection of short stories.


4 thoughts

  1. I love the images. I’m curious about the change from past tense to present tense. It did make me read it over and over. Haunting. I could be Ellen…

  2. I enjoyed this poem, especially the image of the pocketed wallpaper. I was taken back to the four years
    that I carried a torn-out and folded page of my ‘dream home’ in my wallet. We did build it…because I, too, stood.

  3. What a brilliant poem. I love that “snapshot” of two lives feelings. There’s a great deal packed away behind the lines. Expertly crafted

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