Shut the Front Door! –by Rachel Nix

This week, we hear from guest-blogger, Rachel Nix, who discusses her haunting poem, “This House.”

Shanti and I met last November when I nudged her to go with me to see Andrea Gibson perform in Birmingham. Well, that’s when we met in the normal sense. I poem-stalked her much earlier after we were published in the same issue of Bop Dead City a while back and got to know her a bit online. If you’ve read her work, you know she doesn’t really sound like other writers. She seems to draw inspiration from places most of us would never think to look.

That’s the interesting thing about poetry: ideas are everywhere, even when you’re locked in a nasty spell of writer’s block, which is where I was prior to taking part in NaPoWriMo 2015. If you’re not familiar with how National Poetry Writing Month works, you attempt to write a poem every day for the month of April. There are various prompts circulated online to assist in drawing out these poems. One prompt grabbed me immediately: the word swing. I made myself write about the first thought that came to mind when I saw the prompt words. Brains are weird, and I’m probably too Southern for my own good. I thought of a screen door swinging shut—the creak the old hinges make and how it can jar the daylights out of a quiet room. I’m also very demented; let’s get that out there.

My poem, “This House,” basically has to do with a woman, likely a wee bit ill-tempered (and probably rightly so, because you just don’t argue with a southern woman’s temper), who gets rattled by the way her husband enters their house. Who knows what the rascal has done beyond daring to come home, but his entrance is enough to make her wonder if she’d rather be haunted by the guilt of his demise than to look at him another day.

I’m not married. I doubt anyone’s gonna ask now. It’s cool.

Originally published in Rust + Moth, Spring 2016

This House

The screen door
swings open.

She jumps–
off her guard;

on edge
all evening.

This house
has no ghosts.

Husband’s home.
She eyes him


how much
he’ll haunt her.


Rachel Nix is a native of Northwest Alabama, where pine trees outnumber people – as they ought to. She is the Poetry Editor at cahoodaloodaling and can be followed at @rachelnix_poet on Twitter or on her poorly kept blog:

Featured Image at top: The Farm, 1958.
“Grandmother looking out screen door.”
William Gedney Photographs and Writings
Duke University David M. Rubinstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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