When the house had eyes, it looked outside.
Looked over the black street in bewilderment.
It saw the yellow street sign, the hemlock
bowing under snow or in blue-green freedom
to a sky empty of the shut eyes of birds. If God
flew through windows with white curtains saying,
Only the holy will be admitted to this hospital.
Only the lightless will fail. The way sight failed me
in the house of lidless eyes. The way all I knew
was the blue dog. It was dead. It did not cry,
played a song if I cranked a hook in its side.
It sang, though dead, and I never pulled its tail,
never pulled close the curtains to shut out
the light. I wanted the hemlock to sing back
the forced cries of wind. If the holy. If wind
entered the house through holes. If the holes
equaled a hand. The touch of God is mighty,
mightier than a house with eyes or the prayers
of a girl with a blue dog pleading, No, no, no,
as the hemlock loosed blue needles.
And God replied,
Gillian Cummings is the author of The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter, winner of the 2018 Colorado Prize for Poetry and My Dim Aviary, winner of the 2015 Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Boulevard, The Colorado Review, The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and previously in Tupelo Quarterly.