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Walls

I asked the questions I wish you had asked me:
“Does the evening mean the end of the day?” and
“Can we leave by the fire exit?”

It barely felt indoors, the sweet scent of wet mulch
wafted through an open window; that woman’s hair
streaming, for but a second, across her face.

Indoors, we spoke of walls. Your hands soft,
as if they had never lifted a stone or tossed a rock
into the lake behind your home. Stone walls, dating
back to a time when the trees looked differently,
needed to be moved. “The addition runs through them”
you said, half-ashamed, over the din of slowly dying conversation.
And then we were there: half-asleep as if early morning, not a word
from my lips and not a sound in your ear
we pitched rock and soil and made way for the machines.

Leaping along boundary stones, the walls
between us, the walls amongst us. Do not listen
but open ears and eyes and hands to grasp and shut
and blink and borrow, for a moment, the sound
of hairpins dropping; for a moment, the smell
of flowers blooming. In caution of history
we must become walls of stone, still-sitting in waiting
for the day they come to tear us down.

Springtime!

And spring has finally come!

Here and there they used the same chemicals

The smell of spring brings memories from under snowfall.
Things half-remembered and merely inconsequential.
Like how my office smells
like my grandparents’ old apartment building.
I was only seven or eight, maybe younger. I remember
a pool, a hallway; the way we ate bagels every morning.
This is merely because here and there
they used the same chemicals to clean the tiled floors.
And so we become pieces of ourselves;
become the lies we told ourselves as children:
firemen, astronauts and veterinarians.