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Here I am.
Granting you the vision of the wooden chair
that we brought from the first living room
because we didn’t have enough chairs for the dining room.
You see the fake flowers,
they will never live real lives, never die.
They will never smell like honey, never wilt.
They must always watch us,
the humans, do the tedious things we do.
The sliding door. With the bug screen.
Yesterday night we went through that door.
Out on the porch, we petted Trevor, who was not our cat.
We don’t own the farm, we don’t work on it.
We won’t stay at the house. Soon, it will be all alone again.
And there will be no footsteps on the staircase.
And the painted china will no longer rattle
until the next people come.
And there is a little footstool
with its broken back. With a mahogany top.
Polished wood bottom. We do not get splinters on the floorboards.
They have been washed, sanded, many times. We see a little cart.
Also made of wood, oh pretty wood, and carved in ways that I couldn’t
carve. I cannot carve.
The ladder in the back moves up and down,
the horse has run away,
tired of carrying your load of goods.
Outside, bright sun,
grass to run on, marsh where you can sink, sneakers and all.
The horses, they were angry,
or they just wanted to scream, neigh, someone, come!
And Trevor, ears perked up, hissed at a bird that was too loud,
too happy.
And yet, Trevor did not move from his place on the porch.
He just glared like a madman and settled down, ready to be petted
some more. And my mother lounged in a chair,
and my father had gone inside with his camera, only to come out again.
And the flies were dancing and buzzing, and joining in,
and there was some sort of silent party with no music,
because the only sounds were the birds and we wanted that.
We never wanted it to stop, just wanted to stay, my mother and father with
their wine, laughing, me, running, slipping in the wet grass, laughing at the chickens.
The chicken that came up the steps with its loud claws,
the chicken that greeted me with the call of its throat,
the chicken I shied from,
the chicken with menacing eyes,
and yet Trevor’s yellow eyes were more menacing.
And the barn held nothing but chickens and horses,
and the occasional cat, of which there were three.
Two cats would not greet us, were not friendly.
One ran into the bushes, another stayed on the porch, back arched.
The calico, and the tuxedo.
We don’t have names for those yet.
They are not ours, do not want to be ours.
We have no ocean in front of our house, yet all of the paintings on
the walls are farms, farms with oceans stretching, waking from deep sleeps.
Our house, the house that is not really ours, has a dirt road in front of it.
No, gravel. We have no forest either.
No boat approaching the forest.
Why do the paintings lie?
Are these real places, or are they just what someone wants to see?
One of the chairs has vines engulfing it,
yet the vines are just patterns. You cannot feel them. They are not real.
There are many doors
in the house. And so many closets, with locks that are rusted shut.
One closet opened and had a light with a chain so you could turn it on,
and a staircase, which led to a ceiling on which you could bump
your head. There is nothing to walk towards.
And there is a rug in the second living room,
which has pretty flower patterns on it,
on which you can roll and become the flowers.
These flowers aren’t trying hard, don’t have bright pink colors.
These flowers are brown, perfect.

Emma Hoff
Emma Hoff, 9
Bronx, NY