This week’s poem, “House Call,” meditates on many ways to understand what a “house” can be. In this lyrical poem, poet Jan Bindas-Tenney moves through vivid and unexpected images to imagine a house as a “potentiality,” as the act of hearing and being heard, and as a body. The poem lets us open our minds not only to ideas of houses, but what it can mean to inhabit any of them.

Bindas-Tenney is a trans non-binary and queer writer, reader, fighter, lover, friend and parent living on unceded Abenaki land. They hold an MFA in nonfiction from University of Arizona. Their writing has appeared in the opinion pages of Maine newspapers, in legislative testimony, as well as in Orion, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Arts & Letters, CutBank, the Maine Review, among other places. They work at the Maine Humanities Council where they curate a weekly poetry feature on WERU Community Radio called Poetry Express.


House Call

By Jan Bindas-Tenney


This transition house of disarray and piles

and a folding couch

this tiny slot in a concrete wall some would call a con game

a flying dingy in a commodity pool

or an abducted row of air

an abundance.


I’m waiting for the house of my dreams

where gender is a tiny room of monstera plants and love birds

down a sock-slipping hallway.


A house is a potentiality

really just

like when two people record

a conversation and

then I listen and you listen and they listen

that’s a house too.


House of gusts, gulls

House of guttural embezzlements

conditional house of power

not for long house


that warm room with a door to outside, the seasonal flourish

and welcome mat

that too is a house


House of the best night’s sleep in so long

under park house of live oaks

what might look to you like an aperture

is a rose window,

a weave of relations


a pulsing hungry network of

bones, a house

encased in foam


Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “House Call,” copyright 2021 by Jan Bindas-Tenney, appears here by permission of the author.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: