This poem was originally published in Cathexis Northwest Press The house you didn’t build for us
The house you didn’t build for us
Sits on a tiny hill
Watching a shore of a foamy sea
There is a willow
Weeping in the back yard
A red maple is burning bright too.
Sun sets on front door
You on the front porch
A mug of scotch
Me with a martini
Dirty and salty.
In your eyes
I see the setting sun
Two birds flying toward the horizon
Where today ends and tomorrow comes
I hear their cries
Calling for each other.
Your grip was strong
Your touch gentle and kind
Your words were harsh
Your steps too gingerly.
In your lips
I taste the blood that boils in your head
All the passion you could not say
By words, by songs.
Your tight shoulders and heavy neck
Burdened with what you refuse to unload
But can’t claim as your own
Unspoken loyalty to your father
Whose limbs once stopped moving.
Your hands that never lifted bricks
For the house you didn’t build for us
Held perfect contradictions of hope and despair
An ancient mudra undiscovered, never taught.
The house you never built for us
Stands tall in another world
I go there often in my dreams
To bless the trees that never grew
Smell the roses that never bloomed
Kiss the foreheads of children we never had.
They say that to build a house
You must lay one brick at a time.