Houses upholstered like coffins
sell for far more than they’re worth.
The sunlight creaking in their attics
aches like ancestral memories.
Text messages flirt in the ether,
settle in fluffy little bedrooms
where adults cheat on adults
and children fantasize in tones
not even the loudest music
can muffle. Walking the streets
with the simple rhythm I once
applied to New York, Paris, London,
I avoid the accusing glance
of these needy low-slung houses
with their picture windows winking.
If I could afford the mortgage
and taxes on one of these coffins
I’d move in forever, hunkering
under layers of plush, leaving
only fingers and toes showing
for the Welcome Wagon lady
to greet with her basket of trash.
The April day emblazons itself
in layers as rich as a cake’s.
Bulbs perk from half-thawed soil—
snowdrops, crocus, spring beauty.
I wish I could hide from these houses
in the slough and slur of cities,
but distance pouring from the sky
embalms me step by step, the street
ebbing underfoot, the small rooms
framing still-lives so impeccable
no one is sure who has died.