Saturday, August 30, 2003

one brother gone, one brother going

who is this man
and why does he start each day
by rolling out the white carpet
as though he expects a paint-covered god

what are the blue odorless flowers sprouted
along the carpet, following the banister up six
flights of stairs

why are rooms
changing tones like mood rings

she wouldn't understand
the books spat from shelves, either,
the knickknacks plucked from walls

she could have tried asking
the house, which
in twenty years had never before gone under
the knife, but the anasthesized house
could not have answered

she would have dashed
out the door every day the man
was painting it and crouched, waited for us
on the lawn to coax her back in
to what we'd reassure her was her home
the biggest shift to me
is not the bathroom, cornered
and stripped at last
of the paper i've hated for years, or my brothers'
suitcases piled in the hallway like oversized
building blocks the biggest shift
is having to imagine her
confusion, instead of petting it away.

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