elegy to the wet mount on briarstone street by Avery K. James

if abandoned, a house can only surrender to its weight, it can only become a place

for sick things. it becomes


a sick thing where insects soften and make home of its beams, where chickweed

and clover heave from the tile-seams and the walls sigh veils


of black growth. it dies slow, wonders where did i go wrong? dreams of when it was firm

and lived in, learns to hate


the squatters and the girls like me who followed their firstloves into that shadow of suburb, that wood tumor. all we wanted was to lose


our minds on hot wine and turning fruit and storytell the ones who once lived here. i wonder:

did the house want to cry as we slipped through


its ruined eyes? (i followed him to appear braver than i am i promise i meant no harm i promise to be better)


we never asked what it wanted. why would we? we: too busy flicking beads

of pomegranate into the caved foundations,


not caring that it already grew bitter. took two bodies with it. one of them, a boy my age. a stair thick with termites melted beneath him, spilled him into its stomach.


how did our teenage selves survive it? i thank that house for letting us go. for giving us room to be children.