This house isn’t a home, isn’t even a house anymore.
A subdivision in the hills, gone, a ghost of its own attic
its green algae siding and white foam columns now only existing
on Instagram and in the crawl space of the mind.
The rent was so cheap that deer mice could afford to live with us:
two blacks, one queer, two women on disability, one on that Jesus juice—
more than the rope swing hanging from the big maple, the garden with turmeric root
or the barred owl my lover and I spied while smoking on the roof_________I remember
being sickened by the droppings in the bathroom, the bite marks in the cupboard,
our collective wishing them dead, poisoning them, stepping on their skeletons
shuddering at the sound.


black folk | no stranger to | ˌjentrəfəˈkāSH(ə)n
no stranger to | strangers | conquistadores | christophers
imperialism scaled down | made intimate | the community
unmade | one by one | the body politic | twisted beyond all recognition
kafkaesque | with what was once seen as human becoming vermin
a roach | an intrusion | brown people | familiar with the fines | the signs
of an european invasion | the real estate agent | the state’s agenda
of furthering civilization | civil debate | the bait | the humane thing
to do would be to capture the mouse and place it in a field somewhere
in the suburbs | the____people will see the benefits | a reduction in crime
an increase in property values and lemonade stands | when the houses show wear
they are improved | of course | that is what happens when life gives you lime.


The house where I lost my virginity___________________(done) ghosted on the neighborhood
(done) left a hole in the ground_______________________where intangible value once stood
like my ex, tears welling in her eyes.___________________She tells me that she’s (done)
sold all her stock___________even though we shook_____on that partnership____in that room
without a closet____________that house with no central air_____a wrinkle in time
a capsule that looked________the same as it did in 74’__________the landlord (done) sold it
for 2X____________________the place I went after____________my moms called and said that
grandma had died.__________Like my pops___________________and his pops before him
I stood on the front porch__________________________________and watered the grass.


Bryan Byrdlong