And Now Our Aged House

Sean Sexton

has run its course,
disgorging children into the universe.
How many days since the Certificate
of Occupancy was granted and into time,
we within this space, embarked upon life
with no map, no instrument—
save our wish, and blind intent.
And where once in the yard, we stood
beside blonde, tightly bound stacks of wood,
the fragrance of a forest misplaced,
abroad, and soon walls, framed, braced—
and risen to sudden interruption of light
in the place we call our life.
Walls now staid upon an unblemished
green pudding, formed, and fleshed,
by mason’s jook and trowel. Smoothed
and cured, set in motion in one dappled
afternoon, the long ascent—rafter
by angle, bird mouths and header—
to the ridge: apex of our determination.
Month by man, minute by nail, a rendition
of where the world stays still. Our inside
has come of it.
But time insists, the hard angles of living
set in days, tell on us and everything.
Opening joinery, catching windows,
racking doors, points of resistance grown
weary, the world finds ingress
through roof and wall, mortar and glass—
rustling in the closet, creaks in the stair,
and mouse-inveigled very air,
parsing threshold and latch to be with us here,
with heat and damp, cousins of rain and fire.
And how within its own footstep, a place can walk,
and go nowhere, whereby fences no longer make
sense, storm-felled shade—laurels that once showed us
where to live, now replanted in maple and cypress
dug up from the fallows across the road—
and like tomorrows have multiplied
and filtered familiar light into old rooms
and additions. A new porch which seems
now to have always been, constructed
upon damage, between tempests outlasted.
Leaking valleys, darkened space, confused
electricity, the old: disrupted, and improved,
an outdoor hearth and terrace with half of heaven
to roof away, after we danced and to be certain,
star-gazed three years. The summer chimney
nested with swifts, arriving from the sky,
a wayward smoke, halting all immolation
into early autumn when they fly, heaven
knows where. Time is spoken in all,
and on farthing breeze a soft caterwaul—
in place of quiet: the new neighbor’s
cattle grazing old eastward acres.
Now land ditched and dried in surrounds
of lost citrus lands, banished sounds,
and the next world has its way with us
as a flooding river flowing past.
We remain people of our settling and stay,
for wings to find and carry us away.

Sean Sexton, was born and grew up on his family’s Treasure Hammock Ranch and divides his time between managing a 700-acre cow-calf and seed stock operation, painting, and writing. He is author of Blood Writing, Poems, Anhinga Press, May Darkness Restore, Press 53, and two chapbooks. His third full poetry collection, “Portals,” is due out this Fall. He has performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, Miami Book Fair International, and the High Road Poetry and Short Fiction Festival, in Winston Salem, NC. He was nominated for a 2020 and 2021 Pushcart Prize and received a Florida Individual Artist’s Fellowship in 2001.

He is a board member of the Laura Riding Jackson Foundation ( and founding event chair of the Annual Poetry and Barbeque now in its eleventh year. He also co-founded and curates a Poetry and Organ Advent and Lenten Concert Series at Community Church in Vero Beach, FL ( featuring nine concerts each year attracting poets from all over the US. He became inaugural Poet Laureate of Indian River County in 2016.

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