Without us knowing—without anyone knowing
they disappeared. One by one the houses
came down. The ring-fences went up like
metallic centipedes circling the empty lots.
The blind machine was brought in
to chisel a hole through the earth.
The houses tumbled down; the ground
shook. We passed each morning as
the world became smaller.
Emily’s ‘Sweet, safe, houses’ are no more.
We created shorter routes to the malls.
We dug up the bodies. Relocated ourselves.
Our kids self-harm in the abandoned laundromats
in tune to the ghostly revolutions of spin cycles.
As if to reinvent a home, rough sleepers
lay still in the rubble. Their corpses
pulled each morning from the sewage pipes.
A pilgrimage they never saw to the end
they cannot separate themselves from the land.
If Emily saw this she would weep.