There was a home I never had. They asked my mother about it; she described the unfading paint, the way the door moaned each time it opened, the tears of rain that overflowed the gutters when it stormed. I try to remember, too, but the home in my memory is empty; someone took the furniture away, left deep scars in the wood floors where they dragged the table legs, the armchairs, the chest of drawers, the headboard of my mother’s bed. But those were just pieces; objects from the house but not the home itself. Something else is missing; something I can’t remember.

I began to build a model of that home. Maybe if I could recreate it, then I’d see what forms could fill the spaces. I added echoes and shadows, remnants of unfinished work that was never put away; but I could never get the smell right, and the substance was all wrong. No matter what I took inside, it was always incomplete. And when I tried to push it away from my memory and my hands, still I found my fingers grasping. I held that model close at night, and in my dreams I stalked the halls of a home bereft.

The paint, the door, the rain; the story was the same. But this time I heard a harmony resolve, and saw not one model but two: hers and mine, and hers was empty, too. It was a home she’d never had: footsteps but not enough feet, a key hook without any keys, a place setting never replaced. An empty shrine beckoning for a spirit, but a spirit never came.

I’m finished with my model now. Laid it down and peered inside. There’s emptiness there, still; it has emptiness built in. This was the home I always had; I remember it incomplete. Nothing more to put inside, nothing left to change. Time moves on and still it stays, forever incomplete.

Dedicated to the person this poem is about
Thank you for the inspiration

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