My Aunt’s House

 

at the start of the winding stairs is a picture I recognize, a face like my own,

from the country I heard was home, but not a place anyone could live—

only that it left those who left with a tremendous longing for a house;

one that looked just so and felt just right, filled with voices telling stories

and making jokes—unaccountable for the missing, the noisy saws and

hammers building, building, always rebuilding as if construction could

save the world one house, one family home at a time; and as I climb

these well-built, sturdy old steps I wonder too if it might be so—

ancient civilizations

the children ate in silence while mom whittled away the hours on her phone—

 

what were they thinking? of the banter between the people at the next table?

 

that face-to-face conversation was a foreign object in the food court in late

 

August, a week before the start of school, when mom could go back to work

 

and kids to learning history lessons such as the one we’re living through now?

appearance

you came as a surprise

on my birthday, offering a purple scarf with silver-gray elephants,

something about holy images on a material piece of cloth meant to be worn—well,

you weren’t exactly sure how, but it didn’t seem to matter, being accurate,

when all you ever wanted was to be laughing and affectionate, deeply

loved in return, to be known as that friend who showed up

on my birthday, bearing gifts, however unsure

the years between might appear

Oil & Water

in the wake of Canada’s purchase of a $4.5 billion pipeline

 

the choice is not between him or her: who will do the better job, keep their promise

 

the choice, if we still have one, runs deep underground, informing our future

 

it’s not between Knightly or Not, but between Oil and Water, the two

 

never mixing, these options for life on the planet with or without

 

prosperity of one or two people still alive to wealth