I Walked in the House

By Catherine Wagner Catherine Wagner
I walked in the house
on the flat aspect of the wood
I took rectangular instruction of the wood
when I walked I turned at the wall
and on the flat I moved steadily
unimpeded, not tumbling, climbing or short of breath.
I walked in ease on the flat.
                                                              Something electric charged into our account
and zinged out of it, pre-instructed
and paid for the house. I felt
house on my heel then instep and toe.
I had a bad foot and I paid
to get it fixed so I could walk here.
I paid for the house and I paid for the
foot that touches it. I paid to be
directed rectangularly and down a hall.
I curved my body to direct
my waste through a hole. I am helped
and paying for it.
all of me exchanged,
housing exchange.
                                   I saw us standing
   up in the world.
And we sank into
  vibrating transparency
                 like a sea nettle
              afloat in the night sea
the edges of the sea-veil
      tensed slapping above, visible
when the wind crevassed and doilied
                                                           If there is a ceiling to exchange
                                                                        and above it sky
                                                          I don’t can’t see it and I don’t know why
                                                                        I want it
                                                               above my house which is crystalline gel edges
                 because the whole world’s disappeared
                                                                                              viewed as exchange
I broke my arm and the window
integrally to exchange.
I paid someone to fix me and improve
the window, triple-glazing it, and warmer
I rebounded       knit in knit up.
All parties to the event’s aftermath
                     were paid.
Suppose I did not go in pain
                   to hospital, did not visit and revisit
for x-rays, left the window smashed
                  and sat here by it,
            stuck up
                among the crystalline
                            and cold.
I was painful and determined
not to play, and with the other unemployed
weighed —
                       the ghostship
sagged with holes.

                                          —So you want to be a thing outside exchange?
                                              Drain out the dying bath
                                              see what color you are?
The coin changed hands
identical      with a will
to transact.

Catherine Wagner, “I walked in the house” from Macular Hole, published by Fence Books. Copyright © 2004 by Catherine Wagner. Reprinted by permission of Catherine Wagner.

Source: Macular Hole (Fence Books, 2004)

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Poet Catherine Wagner

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Body, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Catherine  Wagner


Catherine Wagner’s collections of poems include Nervous Device (2012), My New Job (2009), Macular Hole (2004), Miss America (2001); and a dozen chapbooks, including Imitating (Leafe Press, 2004). She has performed widely in the U.S., England and Ireland; her poems and essays have appeared in Abraham Lincoln, Lana Turner, New American Writing, 1913, How2, Cambridge Literary Review, Soft Targets, Action, Yes, and other magazines. . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Body, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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