September 2012

Day We All Became Architects

I am just another place to live;

a fireplace in the soles of my feet,

I felt a smoke signal leave my lips

and tell the air something about me

feeling like home.

Chimney sweep found burns shaped

like womb blossoms, underdeveloped

and still in the ashen phase where

you can’t cry. Nobody can, not me.

A long while before, architect said,

born, skeleton in oak, well-ringed,

hosted sunrises on nice days at one point.

Collarbone’s in the attic, breastbone

in the walls. Don’t let them show,

and she’ll stand forever.

 

Now I am saying, reborn,

cherry wood at the hearth

and aroma rising and I’m not going

with it. Told that’s how rebirth works.

Once you’ve had your chance, you can have

another, but it’ll save only the rooftops

and windowpanes from the aging of rain.

Really, I am just another place to live.

 

Someone could have built me in a sycamore tree,

maybe not God or a bird, but Father and a child.

Abandon me for a while and let ice and overgrowth

stumble in and out over the seasons, nomadic.

Rain sips the youth from my marrow; snow perch

on my windowsill and blanch my view of the world for a while.

Summer will come, and the boy will have another year

on him, several months on me, and still I am new

and he is new and the weight of his footsteps is new

all because I am not a place to sleep.

Someone could have built me near a pine tree

and filled me to the brim with millet

so that cardinals would come hungry

and leave parts of themselves behind,

songs on the rooftop and feathers at the entrance,

but I am just another place to live.

 

One night the husband asked his wife,

“Honey, do you feel beautiful?”

She never replied, but

he showed her the blueprint

for a summerhouse by a lake,

or maybe the lake was the blueprint

the way it was disturbed

everything looked scribbled out, dilapidated maybe,

planned carefully on the water,

 

just another place to be lived in,

only with a blueprint indelible and indecisive

to make sure you stay standing just right.

 

 

When you’re just another place to live,

for people to come and go, come and go,

leave fireplaces crackling all night long

and welcome mats not welcoming,

you just want to take all their mirrors,

break them maybe, replace them with the blueprints

God himself used to make their hearts and lungs worthy dwellings,

and watch as they confront them knowing that a mirror’s inability

to think ahead keeps them changing. Take the collarbone

out of the attic along with the sundresses,

strip the walls for the sternum,

all the walls for the sternum,

but there is a foundation made up of all the right

shadows and there’s a reason to live and people

to live for and they’re strong enough

only to stand forever.