Last known residence

I will never again wake up in the house where I grew up; or look at islands of mold stippling maps across the ceiling. Before it was sold to the owners of all souls, we tried valiantly to maintain it. The oils from our feet lovingly polished the floor and the dining room’s mismatched tiles of marble. Two cracked urns wreathed with cloisonné dragons left their footprints on the porch. What it lacked in insulation, we used to make up for by rubbing our bodies together. What fires we made, under three wool blankets during the coldest nights of the year! For safety, each window had a pair of metal hooks— one at the top and one at the bottom; and the doors were barred from the inside at night. This was necessary for the piano to feel able to emerge from under its hand-sewn cover of mustard yellow flannel. Then we could gather around it and begin undoing the stays wound around our throats. When we cried, clouds gathered in the room waiting to absorb the sorrow. Then they rippled through the corridors before slipping through the grilles. We watched them float higher and higher. We waved our hands in the way we do when someone we are fond of is going away.

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