1. TWO-STORY, STONE AND BRICK,
If there’s added value in a ceiling
then there must be value in a hawk.
for the doves, the ridiculous quail,
and quick sparrows
squabbling daily on our neighbor’s
suddenly plunging from nowhere,
launched off before my eyes blink open.
And there must be value every time they
so plunge becomes pursuit,
becomes a game
played out in fan-tailed figure-eights;
your heartsong humming, the sky
brighter blue. . .
I know this won’t go into the
just bedrooms, baths, etc.; two-car
There isn’t any math that factors
No box to check if the front yard comes
with a hawk.
2. TOOL SHED, WORKSHOP, FULLY FENCED
Tomatoes can be yellow!
Also small and shaped like ovals! We’re
learning things here:
that leaving out a shovel equals rust,
that seeds and dirt can make food out
that carrots follow their own thoughts
they must, or why so many knots and
and none of them the same? We’re
how August wind chimes mean a break
We’re learning smells like rain on
dust. It’s too much
to count, to fit inside an estimate.
I’d measure me carrying the baby
before I went in, verified square feet.
I’d measure me holding up things for
him to touch,
saying This is a pine cone, Jameson.
This is a leaf.
3. .17 ACRES. CULINARY WATER
Not every decimal point is accurate.
They sometimes miss dimension, overlook
the sweep a peach tree adds to the
just by moving in the wind. . . Imagine
gone now, downed by a storm. Imagine
with missing pages . . . you know it’s
more than words
that disappear. So don’t discount the
There’s more to calculate than area.
Last summer, for instance, in the
the crust rolled out—who knows what
exactly, as I stood there making pie?
But she flashed a smile as bright as
and I could tell exactly what she
meant. . .
Best one-point-something hours that
4. 2,140 SQUARE FEET
says nothing at all about the unsquare
The living and dining rooms are
I didn’t even know that was a shape.
You pass between the two through an
but not the kind of arch you see in
the kind you find in women: rounded
the small of her back, her
her slow smooth way of coming ’round
Upstairs follows the roof
odd polygons. Three windows look out
at the mountains—more angles
balancing the sky. . .
Once when I was seventeen, the moon
looked close enough to walk to. Right
there. Huge. . .
The archway makes me think of that
5. JANUARY 26, 2009
Forty-three thousand job cuts in one
in just one morning. Thirty thousand
by late-afternoon. Mine wasn’t one of
We’re not part of the millions since
who’ve lost their homes—lost
porches and front doors,
the mantel ’round their fireplace,
they painted ’round the windows one
pale green to go with her flower
Or the place where he first saw her
Or their kids’ favorite hiding
closet. All. . .
whatever the details, whatever their
plans. . .
How do you fit that in boxes, tape-gun
I don’t know; the news didn’t
answer. Instead they ran
the weather: Cold. Then a story
about a duck.
6. 3 BDRM, 2 BA, KITCHEN, FRML DINING
The baby has a bed but likes ours more.
He lets us know it, too. He lets it
like crossing two cats fighting with a
between accordions—but he is cute,
And he’d eat everything if he had
eat all the foods his sister won’t:
the eggplant parmesan, whatever’s
already he’s reaching like a
And here is where he’ll learn to
walk, then run,
then go out back in our sun-fat garden.
Yes, the house has a crawl space
Yes, the radiator’s certified. . .
I’m picturing him with his brothers
all that noisy tangle in the yard.
7. UPGRADES TO THE PROPERTY: N/A
So none of what I’m telling you
it’s all not applicable. I’m
it’s just another headline like the
like Economic Crisis Faces Pres.,
like More Firms Pressed to
like Home Sales Sluggish, Price
Decay, that’s all.
My cat, for one, could care less. He’s
on squirrels: right up the tree trunks,
He’s pretty bad-ass. He’d stretch
out on the news,
or credit report and appraisal, and go
to sleep. . .
I think that’s worth a note or two,
don’t you? . . .
And the grape vines, hawks, the
where the swing-chair hides behind
camellias? . . .
And how, when it’s still, you can
hear the whole house purr?
About the Poet:
Rob Carney is the author of three collections—Story Problems
(Somondoco, 2011); Weather Report
(Somondoco, 2006); and
Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts
, winner of the 2002 Pinyon Press
National Poetry Book Contest—and two chapbooks, New Fables, Old
Songs, winner of the 2002 Dream Horse Press National Chapbook
Competition, and This Is One Sexy Planet
, winner of the Frank
Cat Press Poetry Chapbook Award in 2005. Home Appraisals
new chapbook, including several poems that first appeared in Sugar
, is forthcoming from Plan B Press in fall 2012. He
is a Professor of English and Literature at Utah Valley University
and lives in Salt Lake City.
About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly),
so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We
will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven
issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an
open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were
delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.