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5 June 2016

“Haul”: a poem by John McCullough

In Minnesota, they reeled a sixty ton house / over ice: a caught fish.

By John McCullough

In Minnesota, they reeled a sixty ton house
over ice: a caught fish. The tow truck eased
 
forward, a steel cable stretched and quivered.
Walls crept. Why it sets me thinking of you
 
I can’t fathom. Who’d rescue your building –
split gutters, bleedings from oxidized pipes?
 
Still, I picture it skating, its porch nosing
the air. The house where you swallowed
 
your diagnosis. Where you phoned from, drunk.
It plunges through ice to the lake’s silty floor. 
 
Brown water discovers its rooms.
Algae furs chairs and bedposts,
 
traces circles on ceilings – the loft crowded
with minnows, a wandering bass.

John McCullough’s The Frost Fairs (Salt, 2011) won the Polari First Book Prize. His second collection, Spacecraft, is newly published by Penned in the Margins.

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This article appears in the 01 Jun 2016 issue of the New Statesman, How men got left behind