Published on Academy of American Poets (

For Sale

My childhood house is stripped,
bared, open to the public.
The for-sale sign impales

the front pasture, grass
is cut and prim, no trimmings
left to save.

Women in sable parade
through halls and men in
tailored suits talk about

dimensions. They don’t know
lizards present themselves
on the basement stairs or worms

dapple pears in the orchard.
Doors of rabbit hutches
hang from hinges and rust

scratches on rust in wind, noise
unheard by workers who
remodel the old farmhouse

into an Italian villa painted peach.
Death can empty a house of shoes
worn and new, of children

who climbed the grandfather
trees, impressing outlines like fossils
littering the banks of the creek.


Copyright © 2016 by Margo Taft Stever. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 23, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“In this poem, the past is a haunting force; the death of my father when I was a child and consequent sale of our home provides the backdrop. A few of my poems have appeared as a whole without needing much revision, but I wrote this one over the course of many years. In some ways, I will always be writing this poem.”
—Margo Taft Stever


Margo Taft Stever

Margo Taft Stever is the author of The Lunatic Ball (Kattywompus Press, 2015) and Frozen Spring (Mid-List Press, 2002). 

Date Published: 2016-03-23

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