Poem: My Empty House / by Shanelle Gabriel

My chest is a house with a rickety lock

Worn roof

Steps that creak when someone tries

To enter

When someone tries to make my heart

A home

My chest is a house with clogged pipes

I get choked up during attempts to open up

Too many have left me with my faucet running

My momma told me not to waste water

So nothing rushes down there

Stays still

Like mourning

My chest is a house lit dim like right before morning

Like it's fighting to be a home

My chest used to be a mansion

Like a New England bed & breakfast

With so much room

Pillows everywhere

Smelled like cookies, lavender and light

So many gathered there once

Kept Spare keys beneath my belly button

Till someone shattered a window

I couldn't see right anymore

Someone stole my housewares

One tried to squat

Locked me out of my own heart

It took a year to get back inside myself

Another year to replace all that I had lost

These days

I stay inside my chest

Keep my shoes by the door

Sweep myself clean everyday

Guests can't show up unannounced

Or Uninvited