Not Eighteen-Seventy-Seven, not one thousand eight hundred seventy-seven, not the rose house on the corner.
1877. As in one-eight-seven-seven.
It takes far more work to roll off the tongue. It is more labored, Like carrying stones up a hill, you can’t skip over any syllable; you’re forced to reckon with every single sound, carry the weights on your back one by one.
It is the name of the house I can see through muddy glass and stagnant, rotten air.
An insult. 1877.
A woman lived here. A woman lived here,
Sad roses chant in the wind as they wilt, remembering her steps and door closing.
She had a son. She had a son,
Says the barren grass and the rusting mower in the shed who remember his firm grip.
Says the fence, paint chipping as it cries bleached tears.
She liked writing. She liked writing,
The old oak desk creaks in the corner, feeling her hands wringing.
There was a man. There was a man,
Eeks, the well-used recliner, filled with dust and beer cans piled around the base.
She tried once.
Scream the piles of dust and mouse droppings that blow by from the drafty walls.
She was abused, She was abused.
Admits the photo albums under the table.
She stole, She stole.
Whispers the piles of PERS checks calling from the coffee table amidst old coffee mugs.
She never stopped trying.
Says Dr. Phil smiling from the piles of self-help books; clean, unlike the dusty old house.
She abused, she abused.
Says the empty porch, remembering Christmas and birthday gifts from her daughter-in-law that stopped coming.
She was in hell. She was in hell.
Creak the walls and the torn bible on the bedside table.
She searched for reasons.
Says the feigning rainbow dieting books, stacked in a piecemeal pile on the kitchen counter.
She never found any. She never found any,
Says the lockbox on the front door handle, her old lamp crammed in the back of a car the house doesn’t recognize.
She started slipping. She started slipping,
Says the endless piles of notebooks stacked in the stairwell catching fire.
She gave up. She gave up,
Says the fire starting in the basement, her son walking away.
She has no one now,
says the poem SHE LET GO, tossed on the floor in the cracked frame, left to burn in the inferno catching.
Because it knows she never could.