butter sizzles in the bottom of a nondescript black pan
I watch it scorch and send strings of smoke to heaven,
perhaps this is what happens when those of good faith die.
the second step squeaks on the left side but not the right
and the cabinet hasn’t fully closed in at least fifteen years
but we lock the door at night and wash the windows sometimes.
I watch the flowers wilt and then rot in an ancient blue vase,
I watch my hands as they grow lined and shadow-spotted
the fruit tree is surrounded by a ring of wasted opportunity.
everyone knows that it’s bad luck to paint a bedroom blue
it’s been empty for a decade, swathed in moth-eaten gauze
childhood books line the room’s perimeter, ever watchful.
I believe in the expansion of color in the sky as the sun travels
the vulnerability of people who have just woken up
trusting in the validity of expiration dates and quick dry nail polish.
decidedly lacking diner coffee fuels my most daring of dreams
chasing down something that won’t fit in a pocket or pouch
light brown curls escape an artist’s ponytail, I ache.
vacancy signs litter a town that was something more once
chipped windchimes and roads riddled with cracks and craters
people baked into its foundation, scarred into invisible martyrdom.

Artwork by Vincent Van Gogh, “Wheat Fields.”