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How long


The remodel started in nineteen ninety-four in the attic:

now we’re finishing the back with the half bath, 

installing the first floor toilet, then the kitchen. 


I watch my father solder pipes together under the house

for the plumbing, and I am thinking about the roots of trees

that extend a mile under the ground to find water

or other trees. The soil is hard. It takes fifty years.


We fit a window between two studs,

force the backyard into a square foot.

Sunlight presses around 

leaves and branches to get in,

presses their forms against vinyl,

dark and flat. They huddle together

against tile, held up by dust.


The dust that hangs and moves in the light 

is from the beginning of the world. 

You can see colors in it.

Emerald. Magenta. You can see

the way the constellations found their shape. 

You can see what the mountains and stars will become,

what your new body will be formed from.


The dark shape of my body is cast on drywall,

held against the wall by air and light and dust. 

Roots twine through dirt, water weeps into roots.

Packed earth shifts and wind sways branches. 

The trees reach up. The house reaches up.

Everything reaches up.


The smell of acetylene rises,

and the sound of scorching copper.

My father solders under the house. 

Everything waits.

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