three houses
            stretching from gnarly bow to
     copper-greenish branch – only
one or two at a time
     sweet seeds enough to breed

tree houses
            a sylvan hotel on the outskirts
     of town looking on the steeple
of a country church – its sabbath
            psalms echoing painfully
     on the tympanum in number two

green houses
            hidden in summer’s glory
     days to shield the men from pesky
folk intent on taking aim – trying to
            test Josiah’s mettle and break
     him into baby twigs

poor houses
            in spirit and pocketbook
     yet each armed with steely latch
guarding unknown contents –
            at dusk the shadows of one
     candle cannot reveal

light houses
            suspended at risk of plunging
     mere meters down – the common
room looking after ill-fated siblings
     huddling together in fear
            and shame

glass houses
            no brick or mortar – under lock
     and key and susceptible to the raps
of Isaiah the seer’s allegations:  “and what
            is it you guard with fastened doors?”
the arborist poses

slaughter houses
            tremble at the shock – major
     prophesying at the door’s weak
and rusty hinges now wet with dishonor
     and ruin and guilty sobs making
a last long dirge

—Lewis Bosworth