A Thing They Call a House

I came back to this box

where we I almost said live.

That’s what they are, of course,

with holes in the side, through which

we seem to sieve.

 

Has the foundation gone off plumb?

Something shuffles in the attic,

shadows dart at the edge of my eye,

things make me itch. Stale breath

from the vents, flits of static. . .

 

And now it’s too big or

probably maybe I’ve shrunk.

Imagine the moment you notice

the echo your own feet make

on the stairs, that hollow thunk.

 

When do you start to pare it down,

put all but one placemat away?

When do you leave the shutters drawn

and forget the mail and fry an egg for dinner

and wear your slippers all day?

 

Or maybe you think it’s time

to leave this box behind and see if you

can find one more compact,

carpeted, cozy, without all the ghosting

features that make you fear for your mind.

 

I’m sure you never dreamed that I would

run into this wall; but then you never

had to watch you go then turn and

lift the lock to this maze of

mocking rooms and narrow halls.

 

This box so empty it rattles, and blinks

and leaks and moans. Weird as a museum

when all the crowds have gone,

a thing they call a house

we used to call a home.