Where I Live


I live
in the dark finger of space
between two fences. One
on the formless neighbor’s side
and one on ours. In
a two sided attempt at
keeping each other out
by building
taller and taller fences
we have trapped an armpit inch to
permanently become what
no man tries to own.
So I burrow my secrets through
holes and
over the top, into the crack
and have named that spot after all
my bad habits and poor judgments.
I record my
petty lies just quiet enough they
never make it out
the other side, instead they
gather at the bottom like
broken leaves and cobwebs just
for my digressions
to burst the poor fence open
and wash away
my childhood home
in a tidal wave of hidden
personal shames
I’ve only spelt out here.
Some days
I get so goddamn remorseful
I worry all the
ants I’ve ever stepped on
have been reincarnated as bigger
and are under my bed
just waiting to swarm me
in my sleep.
And the ants don’t scare me
as much as
the concept of retribution.
So I bury apologies
through the cracks in the fence
to the crack between the fences
because there is a very real possibility
that I might actually have hurt some people
that my petty lies combined
might weigh too much.
I’ve filled the fence to overflowing
with every small misdeed
that I commit
with an excuse
and a note that says “I’m sorry”
“I’m sorry
that I hold parts of myself behind a fence
that I tuck the
ugly things
into the nothing between slats.
That I try to deny
myself humanity that way.”
I write this same apology
over and over
until my hand cramps too hard
to keep moving.
I have always
been afraid of retribution so
I wrap all my admittances in
the same silk apologies
hard knuckle pressed into fences
and forget them as strong as I can.
It’s easy for a boy to forget that he’s a man.
It’s a lot harder for him to accept it.
I’ve put this fence up
and I don’t know how to knock it down
I don’t know how
to allow myself the
most foolish pleasure of
openly wearing my flaws
It’s hard to see into this fence
And it’s hard to get out.

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