Cabin on Rough Ridge
Joshua Martin

Here where the front porch
groans from the weights
of our boots and wind whistles
through wood slats we stand
before a door we know
we shouldn’t enter, feel another time’s
last breath brush against the splinters.
Something about this house brings
us here, its logs falling like flesh
from old bones, its windows emptier
than sockets in a mule’s skull,
and through the walls another
sound seeps- an infant’s whimper
as the fire smolders, turns cold
as cast-iron clanks in the hands
of a young mother whose husband
doesn’t have a lick to get them through winter,
who knows the pangs of a coalmine
are better than an empty stomach.
How could they have known we’d be here
long after the last coal crackled,
searching for souls inside their house’s
hollow body? How could they have known
we’d pray for even the faintest flicker
of life-light in that dead and forgotten home?

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