Cave

Every morning there is a new insect in the bathtub. A tangle of women’s hair in the sink,
the refrigerator exhaling a ghost-smell: one beloved rotting vegetable. Always a cucumber,

can’t bear it, scotch tape living on the freezer door. This carpet’s got a whole country of ants.
This house remembers me not because of the way I have shed skin cells all over it or broken

the handle off my cabinets, it is not because I have terraformed the bedroom to my dirty liking
left lint from the laundry stamped into the floor, not because I will inevitably leave a sock

or two behind. The house remembers me, there must be some sort of reciprocal love between us
or else it has all been wasted.

I do not have to choose to remember a shower curtain creeping in months of mold
a great ceremony when its flat, translucent corpse bloomed finally
out of the trash can like tissue paper.

The house persists without occupants. The same trash rackets in the street but wastes nothing,
long strips of packing tape like clear leaves, tumbleweeds and a crushed can whispers

in its metal way between the step and the door. The can has lived here in this corner for centuries
rattling in its thin aluminum language, a song against the side of the house that is timeless
as a pair of shoes thrown over the telephone wires.

The shoes on the telephone wires are like handcuffed lovers, bickering in the wind but one
unable to live without the other. Someone tied two shoes together by their laces, someone

wound up centripetally with their left or right arm and slung this counterweighted force
over a mile of black wire. It probably took a few tries. This is a thing that happens everywhere.
Then time passes.

Time enough for the white laces and the rubber to adopt and relinquish the weather
stains from the sun are weak and gray, the world is dirty and clean, dirty and clean.

The shoes remember the shape of a human foot. The house remembers my weight.

Wind blows through the keyhole, there time enough for the latch to rust

and the insects in the bathtub to grow wings.

Regina Caggiano is an undergrad student on the East Coast getting her degree in creative writing and Something Unrelated. Her work has been previously published in X-R-A-Y Lit Mag and CHEAP POP, among others. DM her a song rec at @reginacaggiano on Twitter.

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