• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 11
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The Lease

How populous the lit dining room
of your past. Down there, the grandmother
your mother named you after though she
died before you knew her. And mother
dead in your teen years so who could sit
at the imaginary table to fill you in?
To one side your siblings stand, a sister
chatting about the house she will never
be able to buy back from her abusive
husband; your brother, drinking, talent
wasted. They are also dead. “Passed” too
polite when we are all past our due date,
sinking down with a ghostly drift up to empty floors,
listening to what’s under us, ear to floorboards,
voices from unworked jobs, unmentored career,
refused engagement, praise heard as okay for you
but not quite enough for the show “regrettably.”
Permanent shadows on brightly painted walls,
the upstairs vacant with what is left.
A red-walled single holds a photo and hanging lamp,
above that the violet chakra of truly empty enlightenment,
a lamp silhouette. Through uncurtained windows
a glow shows just enough of the unknowable. Where
is this place? Still they chatter, you make out
“didn’t,” “couldn’t” you recognize
the communal feast of deteriorating time,
and through it the TV’s dull roar, volume low
but exciting, the opportunity to vote for
the singing dancing winner.