The wreckage of my room is
rubble around me,
blown to bits by
ten years stagnation,
but I’ve seen it like this
before.

It was in pieces before I
left the embracing aroma of
sake and sugar simmering,
the boisterous laugh
following a Spanish murmur,
and the palms out front who
waved me off in the
blisters of June.

I left gaps where my
existence once filled,
packaged it between
thin cardboard slats and,
excited to redefine,
sought to rebuild on
too-bright-white walls.

To erase the blankness,
masked the cleaner’s sting
with lavender and sage,
found places for my mother’s
good omens and wished I’d
heeded my cousin and
bought the set of Columbian
masks instead of just the one,
hung memories on the walls
only to tear down and
return to that left-behind.

Returned to find the gaps
misshapen and ill-suited for an
existence older and larger
no longer willing to conform,
made excuses that it was just
temporary
yellow and blue splotches
from too small workspaces,
rickety, peeling bed frames,
pictures and posters
layered across time
instead of outgrown and removed
wallpapered additions with
tape so old it was but a thin
crinkle of plastic.

We blasted it apart
when temporary became
indefinite and tight gaps became
suffocating,
we burst,
rickety to ruin
clutter to clear
ripped out foundations
purified in sage
rebuilt
once more
until sage coiled around
new wood stains smell
new paint swatches smell
old diffuser trying too hard smell.

We didn’t say we were
like that diffuser, instead
said we had outgrown
princess canopies and
Adventure Time fan art.

We did outgrow them
but excuses never
admitted the new was
no more home,
we didn’t say what the
square foot of bliss green paint
reflected,
hidden between
perfect blooms of crepe,
a resignation to escape.

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