On the Porch of an Old Wooden House in Russia

Janet Krauss


I find him in the corner of the porch

where I, too, come to seek relief

from the pressing bellyful of the sun.

A breeze blesses us in this small haven of shade.

We talk about the weather and the comfort

we have together under the roof of this old house.

He is eighty-seven, a steady, thick-soled traveler.

He tell me that before this trip a threat of death

briefly blocked his steps. He will not go to Turkey.

He will go home, home that dwindles from his sight,

his house dry and silent since his wife died,

college friends he sees down from ten to three.

But here in the company of our group

at dinner he looks past his future,

his teeth, as he smiles, bright as the wine

in the light as he laughs and pronounces

his words slow and clear

in his stately Southern voice

how he waltzed the nights away

with the belles of the balls

surely the gentleman caller

Blanche du Bois longed for.




Janet Krauss has two books of poetry published, Borrowed Scenery (Yuganta Press, 2005) and Through the Trees of Autumn (Spartina Press, 2007).   She lives in Connecticut,  has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize,  and teaches literature and writing at Fairfield University and St. Basil College.