The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: G.L. Morrison’s “Chiaroscuro Kisses”


Do Houses Dream

Do houses dream?
Do the cupboards dream of chasing
broken dishes and lost teacups
and twitch like sleeping dogs?
Do they dream the cereal boxes full again?
Is that sometimes sound, the slow night-creaking
of walls, the house muttering in its sleep?
Does the house dream the kitchen full
of holiday relatives, traditional squabbles,
dry thinly carved regrets and football on TV after?
Does it people the rooms with whoever
lived here before us? Or has she forgotten them?
Will she forget us? The way we’ve forgotten before houses?
(Sometimes my hand goes out to flip a lightswitch
that isn’t there, that never was.
I don’t know what switch my hand remembers.)
Will she remember me that way? Will you?
Does it dream us fighting or making love,
of the things we’ve done or never would?
I can feel it cast the blue slope of our bodies
flickering like the shadow of the TV on the wall.
Beneath the carpet that knows the naked shuffle of our feet
and the floorboards which only know their weight
somewhere near the cracked foundation
is the heart of the house.
The multi-chambered heart of the house
unseen, rooms beneath rooms
that moles, last year’s possum and some
sick stray cats come home to.
We don’t know what’s down here, dreaming.
There is a want that burrowed in.
There is a want grooved into the muscled heart
of the house like a warp in the floorboards
that unwary feet catch on.
The house has been dreaming us.
Shhh… don’t wake it.

This selection comes from G.L. Morrison’s collection Chiaroscuro Kisses, available from Headmistress Press. Purchase your copy here!

Born in Utah in 1966, G.L. Morrison was wet-nursed by Poetry whose savage, urgent milk has sustained her all these years. An oracle of knives and wings; an acolyte of reckless gods; channeled by a disabled poet in the Northwest: she is an intersectional feminist who moonlights as a sporadic blogger/writing teacher/freelancer, Oregon Chair of the Communist Party USA, and overzealous grandmother. Over the last 30 years, she has feathered her nest with the contributor copies of hundreds of magazines, a dozen anthologies, and a fistful of writing awards. She has been noted in Ms. and twice interviewed in Mother Jones. Her nonfiction writing stands at the crossroads of racial/economic justice, LGBT issues, and body-politics/fat-activism. Regie Cabico pronounced Chiaroscuro Kisses (Headmistress Press, 2013) “one of the most inspiring collections of poetry I’ve seen in the last decade.”

Mari Hailu is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University where she simultaneously received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. As a Managing Editor of The Wardrobe, a blog series affiliated with Sundress Publications, she finds fellow poets to read and learn from. She hopes to have the opportunity to share her writing with the world very soon.


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