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In dreams,

The doorway view is miles of ivy

And the walls are still goldenrod yellow

Like the fields of Legate Hill in August.

In the months before I went away,

2 Potters Road pressed tight up against my skin,

A log cabin in an evergreen globe,


I rearranged my small purple doily of a bedroom

While it was still the cold season.

I pushed a red settee up against the sliding glass door,

The one that led to the backyard -

I thought it might stop someone from getting in -

Shane hung an antique painting I picked out

On my cardboard wall.

I toiled over my cd collection

Catching dust on the hardwood.

I was too shy to evict the spiders splayed out in corners

Like Sophie sunbathing in the yard.

In place of one of my ceiling tiles was metal jigsaw

And in place of condensation was mold.

I stewed in that room,

Tidying and writing,

Watching mud season turn into summer,

Leaning over the settee to dangle joints through the cracked door.

I feared that if there was a fire

The settee would trap me in my bedroom,

Two floors below my family,

And that the flames would engulf me.

I never moved the settee.

I undressed in the dark,

Because I could never shake the feeling

That I was being watched.

The feeling held tight to me,

Indented my skin like a waistband.

I locked every door,

Drew every curtain against the silent night.

Men manifested around every corner,

Peeked through the windows,

Squatted in every open room around me.

I was so sure of it.

I was alone for a very long time.

I brought home every stranger

And every stranger hummed softly

The song of Charlemont.

They shut themselves in closets,

Crawled under couches,

Laid themselves down in bathtubs,

Laid themselves down in my bed.

In the night,

They ripped books from bookshelves,

Paced the place where the forest kisses the yard,

And slammed flat palms against the drywall.

In the day,

Mom pressed play on Patsy Cline

And sounds of bright hot yearning caressed the kitchen counter,

Strawberries dewy in a colander like daybreak.

In the past,

My kitten’s neck is broken at the hands of my father,

A bluejay is caught in the blueberry net,

A mouse's gray body is curled tight to a light switch wire,

And no one ever asked me if I was okay.


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