ruined

if the house
if you live in the house
or condo
or hut
or tent
or street
(because, we all once
came from the house)


if
the house
burnt down

what would you remember?

what

would keep you on the verge

of
tears

what

would keep you from spilling
and
poring
for answers

what

pile of ash
would be your

           family  portraits
           grandpa's violin
           christmas cards
           head tax receipt

lost belongings.
proof  of  life.
proof  of
belonging.

what would be left
if the A-frame closed in
on itself,
if dad could not save the roof
with a hose

if water
lost

to flame


would
the sidewalk
bare ashen prints
?


or
would
thebroken lot
bear ferns & grass. & seeds.
&vines
&thorns &twigs &trees,

your
ruins &
flowers
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i cannot feel it (like you do)

i
told
you    this
loss was like my own

only:

that's not true,

i have not been through the deep hollow grooves
of infinite sorrow,
Not swam under the darkest seas
looking for
lost love,


i am without scar tissue
where my chest had been,
trying to squeeze into that nothingness

no,
chilo,

i am only a witness, an onlooker, a bystander

and though i feel for you
put my words and hands out to hold your pain,

i
can
not
feel it

like you do.