The Elements House

A gap in the woods.
See the house through the cordon of trees.
Hear the wind chimes. Crows.
Black dog scraping at the back door.
Left to the elements,
the house lies in state-
a mouldering woodland creature,
demonstrating each stage of death.
Sinew stretched to its limits,
the roof folds.
The house ticks.
Wires run like poisoned veins.
Voices course.
If there is a face
at the blasted windows,
it is difficult to tell.

The way the house is
angers the bored children,
cycling this far to fling stones.
A girl sits up in her bed,
sees the window shiver inwards,
her room reduce to broken dolls,
leaf-sump, warped boards.
A water rat looks up from its feeding.
A growl starts in the dog’s throat.
Whatever passes through the leaves
urges the children to retrieve bikes,
scrape shins on pedals.
No one speaks.
Hurry home but never outrun the feeling.
The girl turns
from the crow-gone glass.
Someone calls her downstairs.
The dog is let in.
The elements house sighs.

Published in 'The Manchester Review'