Amy Krohn


Amy Krohn lives with her husband and three children in rural Wisconsin. Her poems have been published in Hummingbird, Kindred, Mason’s Road, Red Savina Review, Seems, Third Wednesday, and Time of Singing. She has also written flash fiction for Splickety Love. Her book of short stories, A Flower in the Heart of the Painting, can be found at and


The House in Illinois

In Salem
In the house on South Pearl
In the house of bright Willadene
In the house made of Grandpa
and Cherokee Grandma
Where the painted rug on the floor
Wears yellow in footpaths through the room
Where checkered flannel drapes the chairs
Which huddle against the sun, toward the furnace
Which is old and massive, cold and gray

Oh Jesus
With your bronzed, crucified body
Mounted on a seashell on the wall
With your lamb-like portrait hanging in the bedroom
With your Last Supper spread behind hazy glass
Beside the praying hands and porcelain-face dolls
With your closeness damp on the floors
With your close, fire-fly nights pushed into the windows
With your clear and distant train whistle calling
With your breath rattling the screen
With your bursting thunder and needling rain

With your children on their knees in your house
With your Spirit passing through the dust
With the dead being found by the living
In each painted dish, each checkerboard, each stiff, knotted doily
With your life bring breath to us

I give you this enamel washtub, this frosted window
I give this spider web laced behind the water heater
I give this cracked mirror
I made the bed with washed lavender sheets
I cooked an aromatic meal in this oven
I give you my polished silverware
I water this vining plant so it will grow around you
I cleaned this sagging sofa and saved these shiny coins
Happily, I invite you in
Happily, I relinquish this house

We sit on the porch, which leans into the west
We sit under a green painted roof
We sit on wood and watch cars roll slowly past, tires cracking the hot, crumbled asphalt
We draw our breaths in tune to the crickets
We breathe in rhythm with the swaying branches

Away from here is a road
Away from here oil pumps wrench the black ground
Away corn grows and ticks breed in the woods
Away dry ravines slice the fields
Away another road returns
I've walked away to the other road which returns
To the bright house on South Pearl
To Willadene, Grandpa and dark-eyed Cherokee Grandma
With the blessing at the end
With resting at the end

Before I married my husband, we attended the funeral of his Aunt Willadene in southern Illinois. My husband had many memories of visiting her house, but this was my first and only visit, and it felt alive with its dead owners whom I never met.