THIS IS HOW WE MOVE THROUGH HOMES
I was born into the forest with a memory of searching. My palms hung white, marked by cold rain sluicing through the canopy.
A house, abandoned, rose from the green floor. Plants grew into it in a reclamation effort. I climbed the collapsed porch and entered.
What I know:3.
The homes are all abandoned.
Forest surrounds them.
They exist in varying stages of decay.
Evidence of habitation, then evacuation, litters them.
A two story brick house with a collapsed chimney. Found objects: a violin, a Boston Bicentennial commemorative silver plate, tv trays, three yellow ribbons in a glass box, a shotgun barrel clogged with soil, sheet metal, and a white circle where a clock hung.
The common, puncturing memory of a gate: metal scraping on metal, the bottom right corner digging into dirt, a sharp creak. They are thinly connected, as if by long, loose strands of thread.
The last memory is of it unceasingly open, soundless.
Place a black stone, irregular but smooth, into a wide, clear wall. Some transformation occurs. The wall is made soft and permeable, like an inch thick layer of wet clay.
Movement can then take place.
I close my eyes and pass through. When I open them the stone has fallen to the floor, the wall is solid, and I am in a new home.
A blue two-story house. The yard is seeded with shingles. Found objects: a drawer of rings, a bell jar of fused together toffees, three rolls of yellowed toilet paper stacked under the sink, a tooth, a can of red spray paint, seven full black garbage bags burst by expanding wet leaves, two bibles, and a box of grey matches.
The ceiling of leaves, the black-blue spots of sky, the stars. Wind stirs the canopy. I recognize common shapes: branches, leaves, moss. Then that recognition exits, breaks off. The canopy is a net, a screen, a ceiling caved in.
This home resembles the others, but new in all available ways. I am not sure how I arrived or departed. Nothing is abandoned; all things here have people to claim them.
The body is a white silhouette on the ground. I stare at it for hours before realizing what it is.
It is small and light, almost hollow. I remember the act of carrying and the travel of crunching leaves.
This house is filled with the presence of another. I think to call out and welcome him, but halt at the memory of chasing.
I find the man, a dark shape, leaning over a sputtering faucet, washing something off his hands. My footsteps make no sound.
Somewhere in the woods I find the open gate. I place her body inside, laid out on the gravel path between rectangles of lawn.
I close the gate behind me. The sound connects and forms with scraping metal. All things here have people to claim them.
There are others; I am sure. I have found their notes, their footsteps in dust, their hair and flakes of skin. I have found their new, recent traces of decay.
I am certain I am not going around in circles.
I am certain that I will someday turn a corner or pass through a wall and someone will be there to greet me.