Scot Siegel

At the threshold of the shed
that is my body at forty-one, I call
my skeleton out for a walk

He drives a hard bargain:
refuses shoes and demands
cigarettes —

Skeleton requires frequent
stops and forays
into other people’s pastures

He likes the feel of windfall
apples and other detritus
under bony soles

Says it reminds him
of former lovers

Fire Poker

The dog that lives in a house
is the broken dog

The man who dwells in the wood
howls at the dog-eared moon

The house that holds the dog’s bowl
is a house of iron & stone

No man is ever home
in a dog house —

But a woman, a real woman,
stays home

With a broken dog
a man who howls at the moon

When she stokes the fire, that cold
fire grows

And the children know, as children
always know,

who’s master

Scot Siegel is an award-winning urban planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he serves on the board of trustees of the Friends of William Stafford. In celebration of Oregon’s Sesquicentennial, the Oregon State Library and Poetry Northwest selected Siegel’s first book Some Weather (Plain View Press, 2008) as one of 150 Outstanding Oregon Poetry Books, one for each year of Oregon statehood. Pudding House released Siegel’s chapbook Untitled Country earlier this year.

“Before Children (BC), we lived in a stripped-down 1880s Victorian on an island between Seattle and Canada. The structure, if you can call it that, consisted of a rotten pile foundation, cracked clapboard siding, loose skip board roof, spidery lath over rough-hewn studs (catacomb walls), and a warped front porch which when walked across felt like sailing drunk! I remember the sideways-rain rushing through the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Wind crazy through the attic, and the baseboards’ creaking and snapping us awake. I was town planner and my wife worked for the weekly paper. We were poor and had too much time on our hands. Weekends we’d trudge to the library or the county archives and dig through drawers of dusty microfiche with the intensity of two young detectives. Our house, and that porch in particular, we thought had a storied past… We got glimpses, yes, but no lead would last. No solid clue, until that day my young bride made the discovery: A block south of the wharf, caddy-corner from the hotel, this home is a house of ill-repute… That was years ago. We have two teenage daughters and live near Portland now. Our house, a colonial built for a wealthy industrialist in the 1960s, is in good shape. We’ve updated most of the appliances, plumbing, electrical, roofing, windows, etc. It even has a concrete porch.”