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  • It’s a little faded red cabin
    In the middle of a field of long grasses
    The red on the wooden frame is the color you see on old faded barns
    Paint chipping, and exposed grey wood underneath
    Red but not bright
    Red worn in the sun

    I’ve always wanted an A-framed house.
    The first time I saw it
    I leapt to it
    Practically ran toward it,
    Falling down

    It was like a vision
    From another life
    When you see something so familiar
    You must run and embrace it
    At all costs

    There’s not much to it,
    Just a small room and a kitchen
    And upstairs a loft with a big wooden ladder

    Every night is a small adventure
    to climb the ladder
    and climb into bed

    It smells like cedar and cinnamon
    All the lights in the house are dim
    And warm

    There is an antique gold couch
    Made of crushed velvet
    With warm blankets on the back that do not match
    And cushions that sink into the couch when you sit on them

    And a small black and white tv
    That gets only local channels
    And has big rabbit ears
    That we twist and turn
    Sometimes at night

    We go here sometimes
    And live a different life

    One that you go out into the forest and cut down old oak trees
    And come home with sweat on your forehead
    And dirt encrusted on your palms
    And maybe a little blood on your knuckles from fallen branches being carried home

    And I cook a little meat
    On the old gas stove
    That takes me two matches to light

    Most days you are gone for hours
    And I read by dim light
    Without my makeup on
    And hair long and curly
    In an white embroidered nightgown

    When I see you making your way from the forest
    On our long driveway of broken earth and gravel
    I walk out to you barefoot
    And bring you tall glasses of water
    And wash your hands
    And mend your cuts
    And kiss the sweat from your forehead
    And thank you for the hard work you’ve done

    At night we make a fire
    With the big box of matches
    With the rectangular coarse strike on the side
    that has those brown woven-like patterns
    And little tracks of white traces
    From previous days

    We carefully fold our century old newspapers
    Stories of all our old relatives
    We read the stories aloud
    and think about way back when
    and what it would be like
    to be him
    and her

    stories of the war
    stories of true love
    read aloud again
    and remembered

    And we set them to flame
    In a cast iron cooking stove
    Watching the paper ignite
    And burn quickly
    Lighting the logs from the forest
    And let the fire slowly fade out

    We celebrate and embrace their life
    Once again
    And watch them turn into something new
    And further blend our lives together
    The old and the new

    From the ashes
    We collect their life
    And save them in mason jars
    Labeled with masking tape and magic markers
    A family tree of their names, and dates, and faces

    Their smiles torn from the newspaper
    Little oval portraits
    That tell us of another life

    We keep the ashes on a tall wooden shelf you made
    To always remember the date
    And the time that we had
    witnessed together our little fire

    The storms at night can get rather nasty
    And rain will press against the windows
    Begging for attention
    The house will creak at night
    And settle in slowly

    We rock one another
    On a white steel bed
    After climbing the ladder
    After putting the fire out

    I wake at daybreak
    Let you lie sleeping
    And walk to the water
    And sit by the dock
    And wait

    I watch the loons dive into the water
    And feed the baby ducks bread
    And sometimes stay there all day
    Waiting for the northern lights to come out

    We may kiss sometimes
    Or hold hands
    Or act in ways that lovers do
    But that feeling of falling
    Always draws us back into truth

    Did you know I’ve never seen a falling star?
    These things cannot be planned out
    I would wait all night on the dock looking up at the stars
    Waiting for one
    To swoop down and greet me

    He would tell me
    There it is
    You just missed it
    And laugh
    I would push him into the water
    And say
    It’s not funny
    And pout
    Until he’d tell me
    He was only kidding
    And bring his damp hair to me to wring out

    I come back sometimes alone
    But never cut the tall grasses
    Never paint the house
    Dust and sew a little
    But just enough

    I like to keep it cherished
    And worn down
    And lived in
    It reminds me of us
    In that way

    Little silver trinkets
    Left for me in the window sills in the sunlight
    Let me know he was here too
    Just visiting

    Sometimes at night I hold onto him
    And remember you
    when I am not here in my little house
    Sometimes this is all I can do
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