Not a sage alternative to cigarettes--
your spit and Skoal mix in a Starbucks’ cup.
Is your white matter high?
Brown saliva and tobacco,
battered pine cone, sap
dangling from one corner of your mouth.
I contemplate deference.
Broken lath and broken stone; one heart hung low.
Yellow wires threaded through support beams--
calloused hands barely reach to decorate the
basement ceiling , a soldered red star,
the lines of power
ruffle nerves abolished on electric wires.
Still can’t reach the tippy top.
Holiday canister fills in as steps,
(gingerly packed last December) work-boot
prints a stranger’s history;
a grown man stands on a child’s memories;
not dead yet not alive.
Battered and abandoned are
disregarded Christmas adoration—
slivers of tinsel, confetti of silver
inlaid in a basement of soot and dirt.
A new key, a new lock,
an old house
ransacked and scolded by souls
who don’t inhabit or celebrate
the warmth of her hollow heart.