House and Home
“Nature is a haunted House. Art is house that wants to be haunted.”—Emily Dickinson
My home beckons the loss and awkwardness
where I’ve left many arguments in lamplit rooms.
I’ve carried them tailor-stitched
around my body, my archive of scars
tip-toeing through landmines.
The river is dappled with the light
made in the shape of leaves.
Every day, I humble myself before
a shantytown of loneliness.
My ancestors and people
have haunted a madness that comes
from playing cards in smoky rooms.
My own dysfunctional family asking me
to pray to an unshaven God. I have
left many bodies in lamplit rooms.
When beauty hurts too much,
I know a bird has just hit the glass.
Our windows are chapels, telling
their holy narratives, the little lies
we tell ourselves to face the music
of our grief. It is a constant assault.
My poor manic father built
our roof with pencils, erasers
& glue. I’d go to the railroad tracks
to hold the grip of life and death
between my fingers like the rush
of your father passing through you—
ghosting in your frozen January
cheeks, waiting too long for his car
to show in the freezing cold. I am always
two stops from recovery. So I learned to keep
very still in the mouths of my captors—
a worm in the beak. The neighborhood
is lit with falling flakes. I am winter’s
spare room. I’ll be uncovered
next spring like roots in the rain.