John Compton: Three Poems

you are the mother of an orphan birth it sticks to you like a ghost roots deep in your blood you hear it even when the mouth is closed you touch the small hands & fit them inside yours electric surges through the both of you like a bulb flashing on & warmth fills your molecules the face gives a smile no teeth only gums the tongue flicks between the lips it cries your instinct begins & you hold it close to your breasts it sucks milk from a wound & latches like a tick: it gains power & grows
she pauses in wading the lake waist high the water touching parts she forgot had existed she slips her hand into the murkiness wondering if her hair ever felt like this she knew she used to be beautiful before age broke her body across the floor like a chair she rocks herself her feet moving between the silt the ducks revolve around her like moons before settling in their landing they search her she understands she is not a tree but could she just raise her arms like branches & feel love for a moment a foot farther an inch deeper she remembers how to heal a wound with a band aid before the children were too old to not need her she breathes she breathes she breathes while everyone else has finished letting her exist
my house is a tomb of shadows memories ghosts the floorboards smooth from decades of feet pushing their fibers into a pattern of ware the walls torn & rebuilt & drywalled layers of wallpaper & pages of life decorated & destroyed the ceiling watching & breaking & being replastered my house is a documentary untelevised unwritten a secret it grows it holds us like children & helps us learn to live protecting us watching it grows us & kills us & buries us & waits to be filled the empty only a symptom

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