11.3 (Spring 2007)   The 2River View  

Kimberly L. BeckerListen


The House that Love Built

Because you didn’t love me
I went inside myself and died.
Then I got up and built a house
Out of all the things I’d wanted
To do with you.
I inspect the house.
I walk past the bedroom and our sated bodies
Peek into the study where we fought and made up
Get a drink in the kitchen where I entered the yolk
Of the egg I fed you
Wash my hands in the bathroom where we became steam
I sell the house.
Then wish I hadn’t.
I buy it back but I don’t live in it.
I just look through the windows and watch
Our shadows moving around inside.
I hear strange sounds coming from the attic,
A thud from the basement where the body is.
Then I burn the house down
And eat the ashes.
They taste like sex.
I spit out the remnants but they smolder
And set me on fire.
I cry and put myself out.
I go up in smoke and write your name in the sky.
I become cloud that becomes rain.
I excrete on you all my piss-poor desire.
Then the rain becomes flood
That overtakes
Your actual house.
As you are washing away
I reach out and save you.
You cling to me.
I let you go.



When I think of you crouched in the empty lot
Just after the struck match leapt to life
And was still snug against your thumb,
I don’t feel judgment
But rather a boy’s fear and dumb
Astonishment as the fire took and bloomed,

Crackling over the high dry grass
With a desolating hiss
That even then you guessed
Was crime or at the very least a trespass.
When it was beyond you, you ran
Pumping your legs, as the engines

Came sirening, drowning
The cries of small animals
As they scurried ahead of the consuming power.
Even now, in the private dousing of a shower,
You can still feel your face burn with shame
At the sudden avarice of flame.




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