Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

[Three Poems]

by Eileen Van Hook


The feathers appeared one by one
hardly noticeable at first
seeming like coarse hairs but
morphing into something more
along her spine, behind her ears
spreading across her shoulders
beneath her arms where they grew
at an alarming rate
her hair began to fall out as
feathers pushed through her burning scalp.

When the transformation was complete
she struggled to the building’s roof
stretched out her trembling arms
and leapt into the beckoning night.



Having been careless in the past
she is overly cautious now
grasping her keys tightly
in elevators
lest they be sucked down
the forbidding shaft
curling her ring finger
into her tender palm
when nearing a storm grate
lest her wedding band
tumble down the drain
as did her first marriage
followed by her good sense
and her inhibitions

Yes, she’s very careful
and probably safe
but is this any way to live
a life that’s almost over?


Leaving Home

It was a faded old house
with a welcoming front porch.
A house once stuffed with
mismatched furniture and parents,
too many kids and animals
and all the shapes and shades of love.
It was the house I was raised in
and it was a fine place to grow.
But it was also the house 
my father wandered from
as he began to lose his way
and the house he dreamt of
during his final days
in the Veterans’ Home.

After my mother’s death,
the house was sold 
and the buyer had it razed.
The lilacs, pink roses, iris,
rhubarb, even the trees
that dropped green apples
were buried to level the lot
for a house that was never built.

The last day I was in the house,
the day of the closing,
I opened the front and back doors
and told my mother, who had lived
and died there, it was time to leave.
There was a subtle stirring—
then the house was empty.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Eileen Van Hook’s

poetry and prose have been published in various literary journals and anthologies, such as The Writer, Gulf Coast Anthology, Stoneboat, Chronogram, Bridges, The Stillwater Review, and The Paterson Literary Review, to name a few. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, placed first in a poetry contest in Writer’s Journal, and has twice received honors in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest: Editor’s Choice award in 2015 and second place in 2017.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury