ellie epp



the hand on my duffle bag doesn't shake
but oh bearded woman, i am like you
your voice isn't ashamed of itself on the bus
march is coming in like a gentle wolf,
it will go out like a tamed lion
you shout             i have no slaves to help me!
i can't write a letter!
tonight i have no child at home
tonight i left the cat with my friend
he struggled in the mover's truck with a coat over his head
he was under the steps in the dark
he came out when i spoke to him, but not all the way
it's snowing.   you want to get off the bus
hit the ditch, hit the ditch for me   you yell
see he's hit the ditch for me,   he's a good sonofabitch
you get off,   you throw a snowball after us
i come home to my house where i'm camped like a hobo
arrive like a traveller and stumble at the door
here are all my empty rooms in the dark
where will i sleep,   in a familiar or an unfamiliar room
i build a fire and i put on my new clothes
i visit each of my rooms,   which were never mine
they are all white in the dark,   the snow shines into them
stairwell,       bathroom,       corridor,
bedrooms with mattresses leaning against the walls
we haven't forgotten to leave our testimonies
on the wall above the heating vent Luke drew a house
and a boat with its anchor dropped among the food splashes and the wavering air
five avocado seeds all of them swollen
are left to take their chance with the new tenants
house.       custodian of rooms, plants, cat, i think of your future
but no, you are your own creature
how highup i slept in your periscope
were you our bones?
tonight in your great snow-eyed vacancy
we are thrilled simply
how strange to be alive
how strange to be alive
the furnace motor stops and starts itself
the fire makes a red light and it moves