Living Houses

When I imagine walking down the street with my parents

and talking to all the living houses in the neighborhood

through a kind of personification telepathy that

helped me survive the lifeless and darker edges

of my childhood more than they did,

something flat and insensitive in me climbs out of a wish

to be loved differently again and starts hiding behind shadows

of any good time feeling it might have like a jealous dictator

with a problem.

Which is why this morning I’m walking to work

and remembering moments of self-love I collected on the

weekend should I fail to arrive with compassion

and need a stitched-together substitute life

to feel my way past this one I have and can’t believe,

on my way to having the one I want, since the brain,

science has proven, can’t tell the difference anyway.

Let’s see, there’s the moment where I scrubbed my back

in the shower with my new backscratcher,

and the one where I held my stuffed monkey, I bought

to help me remember what holding the me who’s

a little bananas feels like.

Oh, and then there’s those thirty minutes I just sat there

on my meditation cushion and remembered

people I always felt safe around, who believed in me

when others didn’t, and the one just after that,

where I let that supportive feeling dissolve back into the

dream it came from, knowing even good things come and go.

I don’t like to think of myself as wise, never have. But

it’s time like these I think I might be wiser than I think I am.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.