Old houses settle in;
they shift on their foundations
comfortably, and arrange
their walls in crooked disarray
to suit their needs.
Their joints may creak and sometimes
scare the little ones and even big ones
with too much imagination;
sneaky tears may drip from pipes
and in winter frost creeps up the panes
and in around the doorsills.
But left to its own devices
an old house will slumber on
not realizing that it needs a plumber,
roofer, carpenter or paint.
Until one day a stone will slip,
a side will sag, a joist will give
and we will stare, surprised,
to see the old one is no more
than just a heap of rubbled wood and stone,
like a skeleton in disarray, with all
its secrets out for public view.