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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 25, 2018
About this Poem 

“A few years ago, I spent a month binge-watching House Hunters on HGTV. This reality show—one of the crassest on TV—follows ‘average’ American couples as they consider buying three different houses. Between houses, HGTV offers commercials for the very products these house hunters admire during the show. After forty or fifty episodes, certain lines began to buzz around my head nearly maniacally—'I love the granite countertops! I'm not a big fan of the outdated refrigerator, though.' I started to write those lines down, while also thinking about why the show made me uncomfortable, and why I still could not make myself look away.”
Kevin Prufer

House Hunters

I love the crown molding and the white granite countertops.

And look, dear! Stainless steel appliances! Don’t you love them?  

It’s such a perfect apartment, and, in every room, a coffered ceiling.     

And don’t you love the pink twin sinks, like porcelain scallops?

And listen to the faucets, 

like the rush of a waterfall heard through thick woods just as the birds began to sing early one morning years ago in the hills outside Florence. 

Where are you going?

Love fills me the way the sun surprises the room when I pull the string and the curtains open.

Pinch-pleat curtains, crinkle-voile, semi-opaque, and sheer! Soft as love when I stroke them, warm as love against my cheek, a scent of spring rain gentling the petunias when I wrap myself in them 

until I cannot see, until I cannot move my arms or legs. 

Of course, I’d love to see the guest bedroom with its walk-in closet and built-in shoe shelf, its en suite bath with the whirlpool tub!

Let me just wipe my eyes on these curtains. Let me just untangle.

The view through this window is so lovely, the far fingers of smoke trembling over the distant city where the workers—

rich black thoughts pour from the smokestacks is all I have to say about the workers.   

No, sorry, I’m still here, wrapped in the curtains. They were so alluring, 

voluptuous, really, if curtains can be voluptuous against bare skin. You continue with the tour, dear,

and I’ll be along presently. The sky is rose chiffon, the clouds like pressed flowers above the smokestacks,

just leave me here, restrained and lavished at once! And the window, with its inviting coolness

to the tongue. To my tongue. It’s like I am licking those smokestacks!

Copyright © 2018 by Kevin Prufer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Kevin Prufer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Kevin Prufer

Kevin Prufer

Kevin Prufer is the author of six books of poetry, most recently How He Loved Them (Four Way Books, 2018) and Churches (Four Way Books, 2014). He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in Houston, Texas.

by this poet

poem

Always, before rain, the windows grew thick with fog.

Mist descended over the evening rooftops

and rain made generalities of the neighborhood.

Rain made red leaves stick to car windows. 

Rain made the houses vague. A car

slid through rain past rows of houses.

The moon swiveled on

2
poem

The little red jewel in the bottom of your wineglass
is so lovely I cannot rinse it out,

so I go into the cool and grassy air to smoke. 
Which is your warmly lit house

past which no soldiers march to take the country back?
When you reached across the table to touch my hand

is not

2
poem
A good way to fall in love
is to turn off the headlights
and drive very fast down dark roads.

Another way to fall in love
is to say they are only mints
and swallow them with a strong drink.

Then it is autumn in the body.
Your hands are cold.
Then it is winter and we are still at war.

The gold-haired girl is