To Survive the House

The house is near a dried-up lake

and a spot buses stopped coming to

Nearby are railroads

where we’ve never seen a train pass by


We were born in hospitals that don’t exist anymore

The streets lost us when their names switched

We couldn’t recognize the school that changed hands


It’s hard to find exactly our first friends’ homes

To remember the church’s old façade

or what the swing hanging from the tree looked like

before the lure of buildings

gravestoned our block’s childhood


A friend I don’t see anymore

said that a man’s house

should be close to all that inhabits him

Our house

the one with the real estate flyer in the window

is fenced in by demolitions

is survived by this poem

and is inhabited

by all we’ve lost. 



Translation of Olivia Lott