On the cusp of your beloved threshold I saw you, your sturdy ankles and tremulous steps into the derelict edifice, cobwebbed balustrade gleaming like ebony water under your bone-white hand,
carpet of dust and crumpled photographs like your own sacred altar.
I saw you kneeling, and your hands amassed the grave irretrievable.
I watched you cradle your forlorn vignettes; a pillowcase with crude seams and thimblepricks of blood, an old sneaker with no laces, pastel candlesticks burned to wicker stubs.
I followed your tread towards the broken mantle of our stony youth, where someone has burned shriveled letters, our voices risen in a grey plume of ash.
I heard you speak to the kind-faced phantoms seated at your kitchen table. Their gentle answers like smoke while you nod and understand, now and forever, that the arthritic floorboards and spiderlace walls are forsaken aches with no absolution.
The ghosts and I watched sadly as you gathered strips of wallpaper and upholstery like a child picking wildflowers, tearing iridescent growth from Terra’s groaning breast.
“None of us are going back.” You tell me this over and again while we gather our dead and leave our fingerprints on every window of this brick and mortar mausoleum.
I hear you singing hymns and christmas carols, and then the stark echo, the house key’s last turn, hear your holy words as you carve our names into the ceiling and drop breadcrumbs down the hall.