Aracelis Girmay

 

SNAIL, OR, TO A HOUSE

 

I can not say what was on the bed the day we left
& if the blinds were drawn over the windows.
How does one hold
a whole live house
in a brain?

But there were bowls, & glass,
cereals in the pantry, cloves, folded
clothes.

Back then
the snails gathered at the water hose, their feelers
prodding alien in the dusky afternoon, summer of wasps
with their mud cities
hanging down.

The pots caught drops & drops of rain
while gardens grew for morning, out in back.

Our house, that house & nation of beams
all crossed with wooden light above the people,
I loved you.

& it is only love to see you
obese in this new city
following me on the train & at the job.

Forgive me then, I did not even look twice,
or good & hard like in a mirror.
I could not even know
that we were leaving.

The story goes: it was the best thing
to leave you & the king,
to have start-
                   ed
            all over with
only those things

we carried on
            our backs.
 

* * *

Poem reprinted from Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007).
Reprinted with the permission of the author.
All Rights Reserved.
 
 

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