A woman who lives in a house built on sand
tells time with a clock
though time doesn’t matter
because she isn’t at now;
she’s paying bills next Saturday
and buying sleeping pills at the drugstore
on her way home from work.
She thrives on the swarming bees of her appetites
because they’re the only thing that makes her feel alive.
I want to live in a house built on rock
where poems and prayers echo down the halls
and the undulations of my private rhythms
tell time in consultation with the sun.
I am neither nice nor mean here –
in this house generosity is measured
by how much truth you tell.
The rooms hold all you have to give;
the smoke of it wafts out the chimney
and blossoms into shapes as if the house itself
were blowing smoke rings into the fine cold sky
for everyone to see.
In the desk drawer of this house
the account book tallies silence,
its value when the heart yearns for it
and its cost when one with truth to tell
is hushed or drowned out.
In this house I am a servant with no master
and a queen with no subjects.
This house will weather storm and flood,
and an earthquake will rock it
like a babe in her mother’s arms.