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I stop before rounding the bend

On the corner
Sits a purple house with curly green trim,
Dimpled glass on its open windows,
Chain link fence encircles it
It’s protected from escaping
It’s gutted, like a fish
The remains are left
Next to the open slice of concrete
Neat piles arranged by gravity
Outside the window pane
When elements of home
Are pulled out like intestines and bone
White hard hats
Curse like sailors and throw it away

At 9:45pm no one is home
The windows are still open
That fence does not work at night
The corners sag in weariness
No wife to cook dinner
Or peel the dust covered shoes from exhausted feet

I fit in the gap of the listless fence
I slither in
To the other side of knowing
I peer in the window
Look at the flecks of chalky drywall
Look at the freckles of pink insulation
That rest on the bare floors
Waiting to be swept
And I take a deep breath…

Let the dust enter my nose and my mouth
The silken dust
Like a drug that hides in the cracks
And settles
at the very bottom
of your shoe
A collection of memories in your left shoe

9:45am, summer vacation
Busy, at work in the yard
Climbing dad’s stucco machine
Chipping dried clay off the grate
Menacing Marjoree’s favorite doll
Dangling Baby by her cloth foot
Over the mixer

"Either you play with me or the doll gets it."

So we play

Because I am bigger than you
We play my game

Arrange the white wire chairs
In front of the machine
I will stand
You sit
Invite Diego and Lucy
Invite Wendy and Olivia and Edward

I stand in the night
I edge my nose closer to the pane
I take another whiff
Make sure no one sees
As I straighten up and look around

Arrange the white wire chairs
In front of the machine
This time Edward stands in front
I sit
I adore the boy next door
Marbles and wrestling on TV
Tang and bikes and Garbage Pail Kids

Because he is bigger than me
We play his game

We exclude ourselves from the kiddy pool
We are bigger than you and you and you
We play mechanic

The white wire chair
Backs of your thighs and legs become
Embedded with the memory
If you sit in it too long

"But we won’t be here long, so it won’t happen to you."

Sitting patiently in my red swimsuit
He fixes my car
He is under the hood
He is under my chair.
"What is
He doing down there?"
He has no tools save for his hands
He beats me at marbles with those hands
We high-five each other
Atop our bikes with those hands
I adore the boy next door

My skin settles around the wire
I feel my weight pulling me into the wire
I am a carrot stuck in the grate
My potato thighs being mashed
I sit in that sieve of a chair
I grow anxious of this game
Edward is fixing my car
"All fixed."

The moon glows through the window
Wavy and wobbly
Through the glass
The rubbish
Under my feet
The wounded
Concrete crinkles and cries
Sound magnifies as I slowly
The site of my trespassing
I slither in, slither out
No one knowing at 9:45.
Take a walk see what memories you find...
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Submitted on
September 21, 2003
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