932 photos, you tell me,
in the camera since the fire,
starting at the Disaster Center.
I look at them all.
A brief history of our life,
seeing it re‑grow,
like the branch of a tree.
A man named Art at Red Cross,
telling me to let you talk,
not realizing you won’t.
The burned‑out lot,
piles of rusted appliances,
file cabinets, and pans.
Ceramic plates
that looked whole,
but crumbled
to your touch.
Like items clustered
in piles, as though
it mattered, as though
order could be imposed
on what is now termed
debris.  Which was a
few days ago your life.

Photos of this house when
we first came, the furniture
the landlord left, because
as she put it,
“You have nothing.”
You and the cat on
the very green settee.
Fire kitty recovering
from his burns,
claiming every object
that came in as his own.
The wicker desk, he
liked to hide behind,
the $3 wicker chaise.
Sofa, ottoman, rocker.
All his.

The photos don’t tell
everything, of course.
Of how things grew up,
a bed from L.L. Bean,
nightstands too.
Certainly, not
the effort it took.
Time elapsed, it
looks fast ‑ it was
‑ and easy ‑ relatively,
still, not so much.
Now the house is full,
though some categories
remain undeveloped,
like books and music.
And daily rhythm,
the way I used
to live my life,
an oil massage
before my shower.
These days I usually bathe
and skip the massage,
fearing clogged drains,
among other things.


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