by Johanne Pulker

When he came to the door on the rebound from a marriage not to be, in need of a place to stay, there was a small room on the third floor that would be for the first time after years of reshuffling bedrooms for three sons, vacant, available, undesignated, with a view of the sky, the old trees, and the street below.  Unoccupied, uncontested, open, a place for my heart to recover from the skirmishes of a growing family, free, a room filled with air, waiting.

At the door he stood, my height, white hair, clean cut, soft spoken. I immediately thought, a possible friend, someone to go for a walk with. Over the years I had many times met a new person at the door, looking for a room in a shared house. If I had any hesitation about such a one, it was usually mutual.

The vacant room, the open space hovering in my mind, I could find nothing in me that was saying no.

He moved in.


On the window sill a stone,
a perfect stone
that finds the shape of my palm
and begins to exchange its coldness
for the warmth of my hand.
Its heaviness surprises me,
its greyness, compelling.
The stone and my hand now warm.


There is a particular quiet at this table.
A page turns, the vibration when just the right word has found the pen
I find my hand clenching the stone.
A thermos opens, tea?
Sometimes a word alights like a butterfly,
this word “tea,” just now,

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 3