Housecooling by William Matthews
Housecooling by William Matthews stories
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Those ashes shimmering dully in the fireplace, like tarnished fish scales? I swept them out.
Source: dinkysniff https://www.reddit.com/r/...

Housecooling by William Matthews

by dinkysniff

Those ashes shimmering dully in the fireplace,

like tarnished fish scales? I swept them out.

Those tiny tumbleweeds of dust that stalled

against a penny or a paperclip under the bed?

I lay along the grain of the floorboards

and stared each pill into the vacuum's mouth.

I loved that house and I was moving out.

*What do you want to do when you grow up?*

they asked, and I never said, *I want to haunt*

*a house*. But I grew pale. The way the cops "lift"

fingerprints, that's how I touched the house.

The way one of my sons would stand in front

of me and say, *I'm outta here*, and he would mean

it, his crisp, heart-creasing husk delivering

a kind of telegram from wherever the rest of him

had gone -- that's how I laved and scoured

and patrolled the house, and how I made my small

withdrawals and made my wan way outta there.

And then I was gone. I took what I could.

Each smudge I left, each slur, each whorl, I left

for love, but love of what I cannot say.

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