A Home is not a Home

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The old, chipped oak door,
fastened loosely to the rusted hinges
of the red brick house creaks open
with an eerie pitch that sends a crow
flying from a leafless maple,
branches, clinging to the trunk,
while I watch it slowly lose its grip
and plummet to the ground,
splintering like a cracking knuckle into pieces of rotted wood.

Old paintings of rivers with swans
swimming, leaving ripples behind them,
are cracked and chipped, their frames
slanted on the empty white walls,
the paint fading as it gets closer and closer
to the ceiling, where spider webs inhabit all corners.

Tracks of mud, the length of a size twelve shoe
traces the ground to the corner where the two
black leather boots, ripped at the toe and faded with age,
rest up against the white edge of the walls.

The kitchen echoes a high pitched whistle
as light smoke sifts through the half opened door,
spreading around the ceiling above me
in a cloud of fog.
I push the door open slightly,
my eyes sting with the smoke swiftly
brushing my pupils as I close my eyes
to thin off the rusted metal tea pot
sitting above the flickering flame
of a fire creating heat that
makes my hand sweat as I slowly turn
the dial on the stove, shrinking the flame with each click.

My mother, her static strands of
brown wire hair, conceal her face
as she sits slouched at her rocking chair,
her head rests in her hand as her elbow
props her hand up, barely supporting
her weak frame. Her pale skin, bruised
with shades of purple and blue, send streams
of tears down my cheeks,
the salty taste is bitter as it reaches my lips.

Approaching the stairs to my bedroom
a cockroach inhabits the second step,
the old mahogany steps, splintered and rotted
with vulnerable rusted nails
coming from the sides of every step are dangerous.

Hinges mount the doorway
where my door would go, now rusted and abandoned,
they’re the centerpiece of my room.
Cob webs surround the white chipped walls
as each step across the floorboard
causes dust to sprinkle down from the ceiling,
bare and distant.
Stained sheets scattered across
the surface of my bed reveal the dried,
dark red blood from months before,
while my mattress, infested with termites,
stands in front of the circular wall
I’d punched out, I look out sometimes
to the world beyond this prison,
and the world looks back at me,
like an infestation, like a cockroach.





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