Wood, Glass, and Girl / Deana Nantz


Wood, Glass, and Girl

poems by

Deana Nantz

ISBN: 978-1-59948-795-3, 76 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: April 28, 2020


Deana Nantz published a chapbook, Fits of Wrath and Irony (Finishing Line Press), prior to being named Fiction Southeast’s finalist for the Editor’s Prize in flash fiction. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Kentucky University’s Bluegrass Writer’s Studio and an MA in American literature from EKU where she teaches composition. Her poetry has appeared in Southern Women’s Review and other literary journals. She and her family live in London, Kentucky.

Deana Nantz’s collection Wood, Glass, and Girl is not a happy book throughout, but it is a good book throughout: interesting, coherent, gritty, true. The rich specificity offers honesty of emotional life: desire for love and marriage, a home and family, happiness. But life intervenes with an immature and improvident husband, inattentive and often not at home. Following disappointment, loss, and tragedy, hope slowly surfaces and the speaker is “not / the darkness anymore.” ~Harry Brown


This book is part coming-of-age story, part meditation on the idea of ownership. The history of a girl is braided with the walls of a house. “You looked good from / a distance. No one could see what was going on – / underneath.” This book reminds us that despite the passage of time, “when everything else fades away // the shadows still remain.” In short, we’ll always be haunted by the past, by our own mistakes and by the mistakes of others. This collection is about how a home offers a kind of sanctuary, though, “We live to remember, to suffer / the same.” Nantz is a writer who locates the exotic in the domestic. I loved this book. ~Tasha Cotter

My House,

Cool Swiss #6

When I was a girl,
you intrigued me with your light
pouring out of perfect angles.

My home—my parents’ house,
featured windows and bricks
boxed in by American normal.

But you,
a subversion in a subdivision
called Switzerland Trace,
fit the profile
of a real Swiss contemporary.

Back then, I couldn’t spot such a place
on a map, but I knew you were different
and that someday we’d come together,
wood, glass, and girl. You stood alone
among tall pines playing sentinel to anyone
approaching your circular drive. An only child,
I didn’t entertain much either.
There were trees but not as close as yours.

One time I rode my pink bicycle
down the hill
and noticed a 4-Sale sign
stuck in the edge of your pine-needled yard,
scratching my imagination
with a phone number.

I wanted my folks to call, but it wasn’t time.
Two other families would own you first.
The originals divorced and left your
blue wood siding and Shaker shingles
to weather down like my girlhood.
No one cared to give you gutters.
No one convinced me to wait.
A beaver in a woodpile,
I tore through teens and twenties.
But I lived.
and somehow you’re still standing,
despite the Fall.



We Changed

My dolls and bike gathered dust in Dad’s shed.
Sixteen and burning past you in a red haze,
I later smashed the little car
a few miles from home.

Innocence chipped off like your waterlogged deck,
rotten as my motive,
skulking around
to meet a boy
not worth the interior harm.

Remortgaged and revamped, they took a knock
at your outsides. Common asphalt shingles
replaced hand-split Shakers, and vinyl siding
covered painted wood.
Beige instead of blue.
Beauty exchanged for practicality.
They didn’t know your original plan.
My parents didn’t have a clue.

You still don’t have gutters,
and they forgot to check
my phone, bedroom window,
and drawers.

No one could see the termites crawling into you.
The oily leech finally sucked
his last drop of my baby blood
now anemic—staining family dinners,
friendships, and fun. But I made it to college and put it all
under the floor.

The new guy said I was pretty. You looked good from
a distance. No one could see what was going on—





My father-n-law is a doctor
who does not care for me.

One night a week, I feed him
and his namesake son,
a mad scramble
from work
to my kitchen
where I try
to whip up an original dish
from grading hands
considered second best.

I am a second wife
from the pines,
not from a family farm
with a scummy pond
where Grandma attempted
to drown in front of the
Bedford Stone, First Wife’s home,
near the rolling hills deeded to men
who drive
cattle and matriarchs
to their end.

His mother,
the Patriarch’s wife,
took off
years ago,
but He insists
that we move
to the cursèd land
where we women
are destined

to leave or die.




Nothing like a snow day to snap a put-out public school teacher
back to her senses.

High stepping in the living room with Buck-Stove warmed hands
to match her heart, free from fret, she feeds an old goldfish
rescued from a contaminated pond during summer vacation.

Coffee temps perfect with a touch of fresh cream as snow and
slivers of light beckon her to the kitchen window aglow with silver
strands of wonder and a white-tailed deer. They lock eyes.

Safe and secure, the deer bows her head to nose nature. A beautiful
stillness calms a mind—sanity tested—by the scariest animal of all,

her classroom.


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