“Rooms Change When We Argue” by Russell Bradbury-Carlin

Russell Bradbury-Carlin


The doorknobs were
tarnished and smoky.

Sunlight in the room
shuffled into corners.

We were debating adult things,
while my teeth strained to sieve out simple words,
and you focused on the farness of the wall.

The pine trim
clenched out new knots.

The swinging arm lamp thought
of life with a lower wattage.

Knives, pens, scissors
quivered and sharpened.

My dead father had slipped into the room and plucked
my seized voice like a violin string with his ghost fingers,
as your parents played you, too, from a distance.

The wall clock strained
to push its hands.

The windows gripped tightly
to their frames.

from Rattle #19, Summer 2003

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Russell Bradbury-Carlin: “No matter how much I’ve tried not to write poetry, I can’t seem to shake the desire and obsession. I’ve told myself that I’m the owner of a house cleaning business, a world traveler, a husband, and most recently the director of a batterer’s intervention program, but I keep finding myself sneaking away to my writing desk, scribbling away.”

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