Sestina Embers

The house was abandoned now. She recalled
her childhood, the memories dancing, empty,
through the hallways, caught up in the breathing
spiderwebs that draped the corners, the horizon
of the tiled bathroom floor was shrinking, fallen
through the trailer’s asbestos, a small void

where the animals buried themselves. A voided
utility bill with a bounced check, a stack of late fees fallen
on the bottom line, her lanterns were recalled
for trying to burn down a thrust of houses on the horizon.
Luckily they were never found again, empty.
The fires she left behind were still barely breathing

on the rooftops. Her ex-husband on the couch breathing
his favorite smoke, some brand of nihilism and a void
in his hands where he lost his zippo, an empty
gesture when she held her children, where her face had fallen.
She had to steal her own car while he slept, drove for the horizon
until she ran into her parent’s old house, if she recalled

correctly. She stood in the new dark, her past recalled
across the screen door of her eyelids. Her mother’s breathing
room–she needed to be left alone after a big fight–its horizon
lines pointed toward the red barn, the northern void
of her father’s face. She told her friends she had fallen
down a staircase, the bruises were blue and empty

enough to heal, but she wasn’t. Her mother was an empty
can of gas, a cut break line, a quivering voice that recalled
911 until they called her back, a telephone pole fallen
with a busted transformer. In that same house, breathing
the same blue-white electrical air, her own daughter’s void
clinging to her leg as she checked the broken window, the horizon

so far away she could run to it, her husband’s horizon
sent over the razor’s edge of the flat earth in her mirror’s empty
rear-view. She would not raise her children in a void.
It had been 30 years since she had been here, she recalled,
standing in the same living room, the wallpaper peeling with breath,
alive, molting the old skin of the past, the screaming fallen

with the old walls. Her daughter recalled a stark emptiness
from the corner, from before she was born, breathing on the horizon
of her memory, where the hand had fallen like a struck match through the void.



4 thoughts on “Sestina Embers”

  1. I could agree, but it did decrease the challenge by quite a bit. I still like the piece. Interestingly, my end words were suggestions I picked up from friends on Facebook.

    Apparently they wanted a pretty dark poem!


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