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winters in the homes i have lived in

by Brynn Dizack

13B trolley car lane.
i have always favored incisions:
the same old dresser behind me,
white chipboard and plastic;
eyes rolled back in a head--
a green ceiling.

a calendar hung on the wall downstairs
by the door
the same calendar that hung on walls
across the town,
across the country.

that we could share something,
if nothing else: the days themselves.

181 commonwealth ave.
the radiator:
a dirty spinal cord clanking and winding itself
tight beside the bay window
years and years of repainting flaking off insistent metal
from the heat.
the park salted with christmas lights
leftover from last year,
blinking as the trees undress themselves.

the unexplainable:
how the coffee always burned,
and why tall black men always reminded me of my father,
how i could conceivably fall in love with everyone.

68 oxford st.
that winter was
almost the end:

the heat was broken, and
most days it was hard to breathe,
even with the windows open.

the snow outside came up to our knees.
stuck a yardstick upright in the front lawn
to keep track.

i remember the cold porcelain of elizabeth's fingers
and the undulating 'o' of her tiny mouth:

you are mine
you are only mine

or how i would sit obediently in the dark
and wait for her headlights
to come through the window and onto the ceiling

528 cambridge st.
out of desperation.

because the bed was never made,
the blankets would always end up
on the floor, or worse,
in droves around our ankles.

i did not love her.
and i knew that,

like the powder-blue of the kitchen cabinets
and all our shoes in a pile by the door.

a heart cannot decide on its own.

1139 commonwealth ave.
i still remember the feeling of
leaving the house dressed as a woman.

that knowledge, or,
the music that described it.

a fierce habit,
36 exposures of oranges floating
in a clawfoot bathtub,

a kitchen you could barely fit a toe into,
and we were always

one afternoon, on her birthday,
Jackie lost her mind:
she wrote her name in black marker on all of her belongings,
including the skins
of fruit
in a bowl
on the table.

we built a ladder out of whispers
to let us down the fire escape
and out into the world.

19 newcastle road.
i was determined to be safe.
color became the catalyst--
placing branches by a window, or,

a sound:
the one that comes after a bell has rung.

the air coagulates,
becomes a gel.

i would not leave my room.
not for the irish food store up the street,
or to visit my parents in their white house
with the long and crumbling driveway.

46 putnam st.
in a coffeeshop, women touch each other's rings and coo.
outside, metal stopsigns curl like paper,
after years of withstanding days like this.

in the almost-rain,
a parking meter doubles over,

a woman in a blue coat on a bike.
the houses sigh and fold into themselves.

the incisions have become another expense.
and perhaps nothing is not a beginning--
the telephone ringing,
another bill from the university,
or how the sugar spills
into a pattern on the breakfast table.

we look forward.
the road awakens with a rumble,
pushing us towards our destinations.


Author's Note: updated in agreement with Alaina. Thanks doll.

Posted on 10/18/2006
Copyright © 2019 Brynn Dizack

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Scott Utley on 01/20/07 at 02:54 AM

this is brilliant - i willl save may emotionally spiked platitudes for genius's - you are beypund that - i want to meet you scott 310 428 66 ## LA CA

Posted by Ava Blu on 01/23/11 at 09:03 PM

My god this is $#%@ing beautiful. I need to comment on everything now. Everything, if only to tell you how much I love your words.

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