By Karen Rigby
The house with its zinc roof. Red hibiscus.
White magnolia. Cinderblock ringed
in green cultivars. Water slides
down louvered glass, a representation of—
what? Relief. Release. How many afternoons spent
turning through books starring girls
unlike me, in brownstone cities
or two-story marvels, no cyclone fence,
no post-war father, no sister, no mother.
Can I say what I felt then? Between iron bars
and flecked terrazzo, arguments no one
remembers—one mind eroding
the shore of another—I lived
in their house without speaking, swallowing
malediction and mercy like all children
who picture leaving, the gate
overrun with heliconia,
walls furred with bees.