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Below a sky that holds nothing

after Hopper House by the Railroad, 1925



Beside the railway track

a house fades into its abandonment


The paint on the outside 

once a deep shade of teal


remains only its thin suggestion


Each window blind

half- shades the weight of emptiness


cracking the sills


This was someone’s childhood—

that long forgotten self


that waited for someone to enter




To enter you must first assume


that a door left open is the invitation

Honor it as you would a confidence


from a new friend who risks


a crack in the fence around her silence

Hold it close to your chest, as you would a fallen bird




Un-tell it.  No house waits

by the railroad      you on a train

houses fall back               before

memory              or before the first time

you realize that lives exist everywhere you are not

that the woman hanging sheets on the line

now a speck to you, has birthed and lost children

and that after you are gone she will

sort socks and remember a moment in girlhood

when the scent of lilacs filled her the way

a boy’s kiss would, years later

before you were born. 

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