This week’s poem, Shawn Keller’s “The Red House,” invokes a Polaroid photo to conjure a super-saturation of childhood, nostalgia, and longing. I love this poem’s incredibly specific and vivid memories of songs, toys and cartoons, and the wrenching beauty of the final lines’ hope.

Keller is an amateur poet living in Brunswick. As a young man, he studied history with the heart of a geographer, then left New England to explore America. His poetry is concerned with a sense of place and the never-ending journey we embark upon to find that mythical place we call “home.” His work has appeared in The New Guard and The Northern New England Review, and online at The Charles Carter Anthology and The River.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ+ writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

The Red House
By Shawn Keller

The Eastman Kodak Polaroid is the primary document of the 1970s,
and my fly is open after the trip to Waterville,
my right hand thrust outward, the 25-cent power
ring commanding the photographer who sailed a kite to the sky.
The photographer who asked me about goats and signed my permission
slip, the photographer who sang “This Is It” with me while Marvin the Martian marched
across the Philco screen with his retinue on Saturday morning
next to the earthen carpet
burned by cigarettes in the red house.

And here is what I will do.

Looking out over the Oliver Farm into the mill valley
where the West Branch of the Sheepscot runs, hoping to fade as the Polaroid
should have done, fade out of this hill and this time,
until I dissolve,
into the cigarette smoke wisps I can smell even now, ringing around the
earthen carpet and the Philco and the Looney Tunes and Marvin and the kite and hope that
the photographer, my father,
will sing with me again.

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. “The Red House,” copyright 2023 by Shawn Keller, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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