The Radiators in Ellen Reed House

^^(sound on if you’d like the full experience, or, well, come by my OFFICE at 7:20AM for the FULL full experience, or around, I think, 2:30 in the afternoon?)^^

They’ve finally turned at least some of the heat at work — and I have grown to love the percussion of it as it comes to life through the arteries and walls of this very old building at the center of my fairly old university campus.

The Radiators in Ellen Reed House

have been pushing their ancient water
through these plaster walls

since Robert Frost taught here –
since long before then, probably.

Maybe they churned and hissed
back when the school was Normal

and even back before the other people
these campus buildings are named for were even born.

Maybe this network of copper tubes reaches back down
to the very invention of water.

The vintage pipes and valves are more cantankerous
than the Man Himself allegedly was —

clanking, cranky, clanging
against themselves

heaving tennis balls of steam
through the building’s shrieking arteries

on thousands of April afternoons like this
when one more winter storm takes aim

with its own foul mood,
at the tender, bobbing tulip-heads.


Published in Rappahannock Review (Issue 3.3, August 2016)

1 thought on “The Radiators in Ellen Reed House”

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