• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 12
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This is not a house that has been
destroyed. This is a house that is yet
being built somewhere in the past.

From the ashes of the future
to the foundations that stand
even now. From the air

that is eventually pure to the air
that was, full of the fumes
that kill you, they say,

before the fire does – all is
eventually pure.
Even this chair, the charcoal

in its future yet to distil
anything, was once a pure idea,
a question, something Plato asked

one night, out walking around tired,
wondering what to think of that house
that burned to the ground. Is it

the same house when rebuilt, when
after the fire the foundations are cleared
and a new dwelling squats on the plot?

Are the new residents the same
people as the family who died
in the blaze?



Is their chair the same chair
after two different bottoms have warmed it?
Who started the fire? When did it stop

being the fire before, all the way down
to the first ray of sunshine?
What, Plato asked, if there is indeed

a pure form of each thing,
am I doing with this fish? Have I not
eaten it already? How is there not

only one of it? How is there not
only one chair? How is there not
only one perfect thing?

This house
this wreckage of a house,
is what came before the foundations

of the next. Forgetting is
the sine qua non of ownership.
Every happiness is built at the cost

of someone else's. Every chair
in which you rest your bones,
rests on bones.