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The House As It Was

by Dan Wiencek


We drove beyond my tiny map

into the city, to the relatives

I did not know. The steps were so tall.

Their house smelled of old wood,

chocolate dust, carpets of long memories.


I blended into the corduroy sofa.

There was yellow light on the walls,

photographs of paintings, a plant probably.

My parents' voices spilling out

from behind a bright corner.


I wandered, ignored and free,

no toys to speed the minutes along.

An empty bedroom, slippers, drape hems,

the hulks of furniture looming in the dim.

A door leading to a back porch

locked to me, buildings outside breathing

different and exotic air.


I populate it with blankness,

with the symbols it taught me:

a wardrobe pelted by clock ticks,

floorboards that sighed under my

young palms, the dreams of old wood.