Exit through the Bounce House

The city of flowers is gone;

the flowers died

an unnatural death; the houses quiver

from the chill of their ghost inhabitants,

who were all the fathers and mothers

we’ve ever known.

Yes, we too lived there,

a truth we remind ourselves often,

where horses carry silver carriages,

(for how else do our princesses travel?)

clip-clopping beside metallic boxes with pipes

that let out gas and stifle the flowers

(for how else does a city like this die?);

where kids like us had a slide and a tunnel

and a bounce house built like a basket case.

From the birth of dawn to the vault of dust,

from one confused generation to the next,

we enter and exit; we sweat and fall and swipe

the dirt on our feet, the red clay that sticks

to your heels like glue; we kick and holler and

swallow the ragged thirst in our throats, the animal

that pinch at our skins; we fight,

nails and teeth sunken deep into our bed

of worms, until the last light breaks at our feet,

the air emptied of our breath and filled

with a calling for us

to go home.

Life repeats the only

script ever written until

you stoop to listen

 

to the faint exhales from beneath

the crumpled skin of a tree, peel it off,

watch the brittle layers crack and fall,

hear the words of the phantoms there inhabit:

Here you are again, children of the city of flowers,

all grown up now playing the same game

you can’t get out of.


[Photo by me]

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