The Nature of Containment by Lavonne Adams


We are the pretend proprietors of earth, section off space as if air was a dessert we could cut and serve. But rooms have lives of their own. Hanging along the walls, matted photographs of family eavesdrop on shy wires humming with electricity. Clothes collapse in their wicker hampers, like children befuddled by a game of hide and seek. And what of the yellowing deeds, or the agoraphobic bills tucked inside some drawer, smelling of embarrassment or shame? And that window. Just another picture frame, a geometric skein of sky we’ll never be able to knit. Plant and replant, hack down trees, skim our blades across reams of grass. Above our heads, ceiling fans homogenate dust and light, blend them to vintage emptiness. Nothing we do is permanent.


What really keeps us here? The honeyed gravity of desire? The pendulum of our moods, like heavy meals that leaves us stretched and ambivalent? Some inflate souls with helium, tether them with titanium hairs; this drift, the true reason for houses with their secretive walls, with their doors that clack like gates, their floors, their ceilings.


And then our bodies set us free.
Lavonne J. Adams is the author of Through the Glorieta Pass (Pearl Editions, 2009), and two poetry chapbooks, Everyday Still Life and In the Shadow of the Mountain. Recent journal publications include work in Prairie Schooner, Cincinnati Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Tampa Review. She has completed residencies at the Harwood Museum of Art (University of New Mexico-Taos), The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. She teaches at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.