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by Dan Wiencek
We drove beyond my tiny map
into the city, to the relatives
I did not know. The steps were so tall.
Their house smelled of old wood,
chocolate dust, carpets of long memories.
I blended into the corduroy sofa.
There was yellow light on the walls,
photographs of paintings, a plant probably.
My parents' voices spilling out
from behind a bright corner.
I wandered, ignored and free,
no toys to speed the minutes along.
An empty bedroom, slippers, drape hems,
the hulks of furniture looming in the dim.
A door leading to a back porch
locked to me, buildings outside breathing
different and exotic air.
I populate it with blankness,
with the symbols it taught me:
a wardrobe pelted by clock ticks,
floorboards that sighed under my
young palms, the dreams of old wood.