still building (i – vii)





this hall is enough

it begins and it timelines that trail

countered footsteps, short sleepless breaths nights are drawn into it but for now

morning calls

he stares down, never comes upstairs anymore the sideways glance of sun

who says, sister

I make sure I step on each patch of carpet

so non of them feel bad

she traces lines

wonders how he knew

where to cut

                        back against closet that tells tightlipped

                        christmas mornings they’d sit and send him in first

this hall is enough

to convince her

still move through it

breath heavy with the weight of walls




the first room

thinks in past tense she cradles whispered worries they come in chronology but it

was mine first

before beds answered questions about where we stand

I would lay down in the big back room and listen sleep cared enough to come back

we let distance

night and morning

carry constants

promise you’ll write

on time alone


thinks of fires, doors closed to lists that run like tears the tracts against plush carpet they

both clench teeth at night worried through drawers that whistle when you open them the

window where you saw your family change


three becomes four

years in this room are the elders



(switch beds like secrets and try not to lose an eyebrow in the exchange)




Jeff’s old                                             he forgot to fill


punched holes                                  the other half


to hold together                                ideals, agreements and


posted messages                              his sister sleeps


patient for answers                          wants room


a little air                                           to keep things from


being breathed back                         her face


looks like                                           his


concerns                                             work


cut                                                       out


for them




upstairs steals


times feet past ten o’clock

she tells us

not to tell her

and the beat

made in conversation

promised palpitation


you go




kitsch in

writes: Then, with a wave goodbye, our oilcloth is wiped clean and the dinner table

becomes an academic base.

homes work

set by tables

four spots, a wobbly chair dad makes dinner, table, and art on walls and mom makes

conversation, a constant click of magnets closing stubborn cupboard doors that stringed

embrace is apron, a gramma and she watches stains, makes the smell of cookies that

come from comfort, if not always from mom


makes sense: the books we learned to read from now framed her past now plastic, red


kids critical of housewife, her ungendered chores

wait for mom by window watch the weight of basil leaves in dad’s pot of sauce

a yellow century, the loudest telephone


orders us: more than microwaves

learn to talk

kitchen clatter

                        the latter in linoleum





in the day dad made stories of flying architects, tricked lights and made inch-thick stages

of tops of doors

now fans

hot air of two adults who wash too much


she lies in

her girl’s fallen

worries of growing

tangled and blond


at once

Jeff’s hair was longer than mine

we mirror a past

image of memories so combed they became clichéd

drawer dollars smoothed

products and bottles




steam says

just try and see yourself

through me




small hall

holds face on climbing entryways sliding smiles so lean back years and except please

doors still change us paint and sighs but knobs know

no one holds on




- Emily Fedoruk