Even though I have stood here more times than I could count,
in the chattering cold of mid-winters dawn, and bleaks unruly,
I am standing here now – for the last time – a stranger.
The house of my childhood is being gutted
beside the narrow smiles of my parents – the clear and final
proof of their chicanery: They, too, are fleeing the coup.
I have brought my girlfriend along, for if ever she is to know me
then here are the essential forewords, and what better way
to see them all than in a cardboard box, beside
my mother’s glass animals, and the ribbons and medallions
that commend how well I once found my place, and a shoebox
of broken glass, where lies my grandfather’s stein, shattered
and useless and unrivalled. There are other things too,
taken from invisible alcoves on which once stowed
the private conditions of my boyhood: Justin’s secret
and the taunts I threw at my brother, the receipts of inventory
stolen from the corner store and my friends, and somewhere there
had been the prayer I left for the Arrows’ boy so that I might
stop crying. All these things, all taken down, but spared
the removalists van, with this house, which I will soon turn upon
and blame, and leave, finally, to let it thaw.