I can name the exact sounds
a house makes when it crumbles,
down to each moaning floorboard.
I found out one day, by accident,
when we were tearing down the walls in the kitchen
to make room for cabinets.
All hammers and nails and screeching drywall,
dust from the ceiling falling on your back like snow.
I almost remember how we got here.
How one morning I looked at you
and did not recognize you over my coffee.
Somehow, overnight, inexplicably,
your face had become a reminder
for the things I no longer had.
We couldn’t agree on a paint color
for the cabinets.
You never liked blue until now.
There were so many things hidden.
That phone call with your mother,
where you asked her what she thought about me
and she said, “I don’t know, honey.”
That time I was home alone and took a bath
and touched myself solely for myself.
My moans coming out of the drywall like ghosts
because I love my own blood. How it sings.
and I don’t know if you heard what I heard,
when everything crashed to the ground like a sinner to his knees,
but it was all there.
Every quiet moment, when we thought
we were alone.
When we thought the hallways were aching with us.
Your mother’s tight-lipped smile whispering through the
“You can do better. I’m sorry, but you can.”
Everyone else’s tongues are in our walls.
I think sometimes that everything is about loneliness.
How we bump into it. Sacrifice for it.
Leave our families for the taste of it.
Maybe that’s what was behind the wallpaper in the bedroom,
all rotting and quiet.
But we were young, so we looked the other way.