I close the shutters, leave a wink
of light to keep from burning down
my paper house. The seams are creased.
I move about in my tattered plight
slowly. Elbow on the table, skin puckered
makes a kissing sound as I lift my arm
to shade my eyes from beams cutting through.
This home is not the interior I had wanted.
Slowly baking air at noontime, despite
my insistence on shadow—I am hot
in the shade of my dwelling. There are dogs
outside and I hear them speaking their
breathy language. Their humid speech.
Their deliberations about staying or going.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and The Boy in the Labyrinth. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NYFA, the Artist’s Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.
This poem was originally published in The Adroit Journal.