ritual on friday afternoons.

vacancy on the windowsills, only the little
birds claim this ex-sancutary home now. dirty
feathers shake from january wind as though
this abandoned shelter could be a baptismal front.

the desolate street is a masquerade for ghost children,
souls who have departed but their memories remain
a lingering scar, fresh as the saltwater tears we shed
playing hide-and-seek in the field or mourning
inevitable truths by the lake above a surrender-white
flag picnic blanket. and when i visit, we dance
together one more time.

nobody, not even the rain could understand, and not
even she can either. i squeeze her hand the same way
every blue sky evening like we're visiting a several-hundred
square foot grave and she watches from afar, my feet
heavier than the concrete beneath – weighed down by
two ton memories.

believe me, i've cupped my hands to the glass enough
times to see through the fog of my breath against the window,
and it's empty, so empty always but the nails driven into the
walls threaten to break loose and collapse beneath the force
of obscured secrets, coveted memories and feared resolutions.

silently, pondering if there's still traces of blood in the kitchen
tile. if another neck of a wine bottle has snapped in half somewhere.
if a sharpened bad habit glints rust metallic against closed cabinet
doors. and if the laughter of children echos above the beat of drums,
do the stars on the ceiling still glow at night without a purpose?

i could stand here for hours, tracing rusted outlines of the fences and
longing to scale them, ever fearful of the jump while embracing the
sighs of a tired wind and digging up old treasures hidden somewhere,
wrapped up in the roots of this place for safe keeping. only during those
moments do i believe in a christ.