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"from the burning house" by Seth Leeper

Updated: May 9, 2021




i know you’ve seen this house before me

your body moved from room to room


hands sliding across cracked walls

index finger tracing counter edges


you wondered what used to live in all those drawers

knick knacks marbles and dried old candy pieces


you wondered what they thought about god

the old inhabitants of this dying wooden structure


i know you’ve seen the smoky imprints of furniture

still haunting old corners in chalky lines on floorboards


that are the absence of shadows and no less light

so you’ve known the layout many times over


yet when i enter the front door you seem surprised still

by all the fire that i bring whirring around my body


as though we’ve never met or shared dna

common prayers or how-to handbooks


you greet me with your absence as i see the last of your silhouette

trail away around the bushes out back


i wonder if we’re finally done talking about god

the yips of the dog out back tell me he’s seen the last of you too





Seth Leeper is a queer poet. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Coastal Shelf, decomp journal, SCAB, otoliths, Gertrude Press, and Noisemaker Magazine, among others. He holds an M.A. in Special Education from Pace University and B.A. in Creative Writing and Fashion Journalism from San Francisco State University. He lives and teaches in Brooklyn, NY. He tweets @sethwleeper




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