For Sale: A House Newly Built

Thomas Leonard Shaw

In the still nights

 the sound of the door hinge winding

           back on itself echoes through

   this empty house.


I stare at the ceiling

          each inch of paint a different color

   as if difference was what made this house

      more so than the people that built it.


We say love is built like a house

  but a house demands bricks and sweat

     where love demands nothingness

   and establishes itself even in lacking.


          Your picture on the door reminds me 

  of the visit we made to the carpenters

    a few months before the trip to the hospital

          asking for bookshelves instead of diagnoses.


This house was built on empty land

          you holding me against the post of the fence

         telling me of our imaginary children.


    When the wind slams against the wall

   and the wood creaks again as if duty to me

          I will remember the dreams we pulled out of thin air

     on a premise of nothing you offered everything.


The house stands

          No longer as promise but as reminder

     of what is broken when something is built

 and of the spaces between love and loss.


PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP