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.