House of two trees

House of two trees
Robert Ford

I see it every day through a car window.
It ghosts alongside like a stalled memory,
age uncertain, between drawn curtains
of teenaged birch, once autumn’s first gale
has shaved away their weak, buttery leaves.
Only its gable ends remain, a pair of
house-shaped symbols of wet, mossy stone,
linked by a low skirt of rubble, no sign of
a doorway or chimney-breast from this distance.
In each of what would’ve been its two rooms,
opportunist sycamores reach up beyond
the level of the eaves, and must form
a roof of sorts in full, late-summer leafspread,
but now join the hunched cluster of skeletons.
Sometimes there are rooks, crows, neither.
I return eventually to our home, twelve years young,
and backgrounded by those half-dozen acres
of pine, poplar, oak – their own sycamores too,
whose diaspora of seeds choke our garden
and gutters with saplings every spring.
And I can’t help wondering about time, the Earth,
the waiting game they’re playing with us,
the winning hands they’re inevitably holding.


Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland. His poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including Antiphon, Dime Show Review, Homestead Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. More of his work can be found at