The house talks to us when the sun comes out from behind clouds.
It stretches and creaks and breathes.
My creaking bones talk back, agreeing.
In an earthquake it shakes gracefully from side to side,
Taking its shelved books and bowls with it,
Cradled in its arms.
When I tell my grandson a story the house gathers round, listening,
Especially if we sit in that corner of the dining room
Where balls and marbles always end up –
except when the story is the Three Little Pigs.
The sash windows tremble when I mention the Big Bad Wolf.
And the house’s fear isn’t assuaged when I mention
The pot of boiling water on the stove in the brick house.
I know it fears those prim brick houses,
with their straights concrete paths,
Squat, square and now and increasingly our neighbours.