Sunday, February 14, 2021

the walls stay wet


the walls stay wet. my honey bought a dehumidifier just for this dilemma, but the damp still clings to everything. you'd think this would be mostly a summer problem for memphis, what with the humidity and all, the heat a huge hug, all things sweating and stinking, but no. the humidity lasts year round, whether you’re sweating buckets or cold to the bone.  in this lockdown box, aka our home, 1/2 of a duplex rented at a price too high for what it is but thanks gentrification, they can do that because of the zip code and even still, much cheaper than what we'd pay in any other city, though it's debatable whether memphis is a city or just a stretched out hambone, but no matter how you sing it, winter or summer, rain or shine, in this house, the walls stay wet.   our coats all mildew in the closet. the dryer spins 3 cycles per load. we stack towels along the baseboards and toss mothballs like confetti.   moisture pushes nails up and out of the floorboards, snagging socks, drawing blood.   doors expand into their frames, wood kissing wood sloppy till it splinters, then seals, vowing never to part. the cracks where the wind used to blow, where water rushed in when the landlord, a genius, powerhosed the porch, where the cat pressed his nose in hunting pose -- these slits’ cement assures our sequester. we certainly won’t be getting mail anymore.  honeydew, don’t be blue. if this consumes me, i will consume you.  first the food fuzzes, then calcifies, the pantry petrified. and us, old cheese, hardening into the soppiest mantras, "i don't care" and "never."  not to be outdone, the faucets creak and drip incessantly, the basins overrun, so every step's a splash (but no one's having fun / life’s a gash!)  honey i can trace your footsteps along the dark indentations in the floor, how we slush and lurch toward comfort, the dream of self and temperature control.   THE WALLS STAY WET.   old paint cracks, flakes, falls, joining the flood and exposing ugly plaster, as we see it should.  forever fixed to armchairs and countertops, beads of bright dew commune. every sodden thing reaches out, connects, spreads, like a fungal network except we have to sleep here. except it rejects us.   honeydew, reach out too, let’s let the great wetness consume me and you.         if anyone had tried to look inside, past the permanent condensation between the window panes, through the cloudy ripple where the heat rises from the vent, over the mountains of moldy linens, if you wanted to and tried, us slugs shouldn’t be hard to find.  when the windows fog up for good, when we forget our circling rituals, when the air finally settles into stillness, who can say, honeydew, how long we won't last as two?

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