elegy for home 

the houses on this street have teeth / they have skin & they are always writing / the same poem / the same long wet poem / the same slap back drip / the same tough money / the houses on this street / wail when the sirens come they weep / when the men come stumbling / & the dog dies / & the nurse next door / refuses chemo / the houses on this street have ghosts / they know who set the fire / they know who ripped the panties / & who lost the keys / the houses on this street remember / the girl who ran away / the crushed blue jay / the rabbit who pushed out her stomach / instead of her young / the houses on this street remember / the old man / his trench coat / his neck breaking / where he fell / what his wife said when she saw him standing / in the hallway days after / the houses on this street know the ‘nam vet who piled / hay behind the shed / they remember when he couldn’t / sleep / when he didn’t / take the meds / his red eyes / the pacing & the screaming that echoed / the houses on this street are tired / they have stood a long time / they are heavy / with gravestones / yes the houses on this street are thick-knuckled / they pluck the hydrangeas / they are held up by bricks & old stairs / they hold it all tight / in locked boxes / they fear / we will forget / they kept us living / long enough to remember

Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in SWWIM, Wax Nine, The Inflectionist Review, The Shore, Luna Luna, Rogue Agent, The West Review and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms, winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize, is forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. Twitter // @audreygidman