Gibbons Ruark Click to

ruarkGibbons Ruark is the author of nine collections of poetry, including The Road to Ballyvaughan, Passing Through Customs and Staying Blue.  The recipient of many awards, including three NEA poetry fellowships, he now lives in his birthplace of Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife Kay.

“Househusbandry” first appeared in Shenandoah 47/2.

Early this morning when I idled around the house
Behind the carpenters, they were in rhythm,
As is only right, with the laws of square and shim
And shore-up, all oblivious of the hours
Of kneel and back-bend you had given to the borders,
The single peony that may or may not live
— No matter the ministry of sunlight and love –
The clematis still awaiting its climbing orders.

There was no question of a lack of water.
The poplars dripped. The carpenters mulled over tactics.
Would it be better to have had an attic
Or have strung up the former owner from a rafter?
Meanwhile the chickadees darted at the feeder
Through their mild but metronomic turbulence.
I went in for coffee and escape from consequence.
The carpenters discussed the cost of cedar.

Later in the fog I nearly sideswiped
A truck bound for the house with a load of siding.
No way he could have known where I was heading.
When I reached the parking lot the air was rainswept
And the apparition waiting, hand on hip, was you.
I felt a sudden lightening back of my breastbone –
A plumb bob swinging to a standstill, gone
Featherweight on finding the hollow it was sounding true.