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 sieve.

Has the foundation gone off plumb?
Something shuffles in the attic,
shadows dart at the edge of my eye.
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.

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