When they tore the house down,
did the lintels cry out,
calling for me?
Did the windows,
when they fell to the ground, say,
we have opened our secrets
one last time,
opened them to his dreams,
and he is not here.
Did the windows say that?
Did they dream?
Did the rain fall and cover the dust
with transparent tears?
Did the walls,
that heard my singing,
hold on to the notes as they disappeared?
Breaking apart like ruined cymbals,
my voice carrying with a guitar
into the soft night,
where my father still sings.
Did the house forget me
in its exploding anguish?
Did its last words tumble into trucks
not knowing they had nothing more to say?
That old house holding the odor
of Sandusky Bay,
full of train whistles, and soot,
apples with their sweet sourness.
Did the house remember me
and know I did not know?
That its death, its old fires,
passed me in my dreams,
and I saw only the shadow of a storm
as the dozer pushed its walls down,
and scooped up the broken glass and nails
that held my soul together.
I found it later,
the empty space,
a few fragments of splinters and paint,
and a wail went up inside me,
a quiet shriek in an old man’s heart,
as I sat on the tracks,
pushing gravel with my feet,
the old house with its torn curtains,
comforting me as best it could.