Regression, or House Number One

wide skies, red dirt, open prairie story
a little house with a clear well held our attention

what is it about dry heat and dried grass?
a red rock sunset by the grand canyon cannot compare

a jujube tree, sour green and red handfuls
a crystal rock, cut finger, rust-covered windchimes

epiph—epiphany, apoplexy,
a white horse and scattered toys
the spelling of a word
s-c-h-o-o-l
s-h-c-o-o-l

cups spilling over with mud, pine needles, peeling bark
hot black tar from the street

grape juice and a boy on a bicycle
oak trees, honey cookies, a swing set
sidewalk chalk and a pink bucket

a young apple tree and clover chains
ten feet long
crowns, bracelets, and rings
knotted stems

yellow sheepsour, red snapdragons
white radishes stuck deep in the ground

a girl with black patent shoes
a boy with his head cracked open
twice

always wandering, searching for something
a jewel in the grass, a bubble-gum pebble

a library and a pleated dress, roses and buttons
a shaky wooden bridge, afraid to cross it
afraid to fall

peanut butter, pickles, and crayons,
so many crayons
a bathtub and a frosted glass window

a knot around my neck
a pink bow in my hair

dancing to a tchaikovsky suite
pirouette, a grand jete

singing before bedtime about bay windows
sha-la-la-la aliens intergalactic
scribbling over important papers

and driving home at night, seeing all the lights
in the distance fade out over time

when we say “i want to go home,”
“i’m going home,” what makes it so?

how to define a home, how will i know
when i get there?

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~ by O'Brien on August 4, 2009.

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