The Locks Have Always Been the Same

I waited for you to come home
I stood there; arms stretched out
straining my cuffs at the joints,
waiting for gravity to leech into your marrow
from gorging yourself on the milk from my orchard of fruitless anticipations.
I dissected and bred my faith’s primal instincts to believe that you would fall helpless
into the scents that called you familiar.
Tension unraveling silently away from the fears that would cradle your sanctuary
in your sleep. I would track your tired footsteps and toe drags from the path back to me
guided by lights in the blanket sky stained by stars and dead cosmos
and from the flicker of dying amber leaves
heavy
as
sunshine
watching them trail off a tyrant’s flag sinking softly into the mountain clay.

I waited for you to come home
You looked childish standing there, sweating in a black peat coat in the summer heat
Fixated on our frosted silhouettes behind the glass cubes and grout,
giving two fucks about my missing hair
and gifting us
a long, loving,
lovely,
leer that clawed at the collages in miniature frames.
Ones much smaller than you once remembered.
Ones much smaller than you ever wanted to imagine.

I waited for you to come home
I cannot recall when I began changing my doorknobs and my doorbell in an experiment to compliment my confidence. Or when I began
using chemical peels and painting new varnishes over the pores. A routine I’ve started
for whenever someone touches me.
The oils in their fingerprints would leave films of wax pilling on my melanin
absorbing each drop’s despised nicknames, work schedules,
weddings spent sieging the open bar
all swallowed whole in an inhale
It’s all,/ about,/ the timing.
Forgive me,

I was bored and became complacent
exercising my dying contentment by
tripping over bent and spare, albeit new,
parts getting to the door whenever someone knocked
Making enough noise so they understood that no one lived here
so they’d ignore the evidence to the contrary sitting in the driveway
covered in fossil prints and bird shit
It’s all about the timing;
I made a few brief exceptions however:
I’d donate handfuls of my presence to anyone who could correctly determine
if my residence was either
—barren or immaculate—
I let them peek at the décor and dimly lit galleries I fashioned during the nights that devoured eternity, the nights
I made using hands boiling with memories
I tried to forget the answer,
honest to God I did.
I didn’t want to have to cut another key for {1,2,3,4…n}

If I think it’s a nice day,
I’ll park a chair and bare dirty fangs with a smile deep into the evening
and recount the keyholes branded in the door
cooked inside lead paint vignettes
sucking on my teeth and huffing the yellow fumes stuffing the air
choking on the aftertaste and smell of homesick nostalgia
and it is no lonelier than a hotel room.

Written by Sekani Johnson – Detroit, Michigan – United States

Feature Photo by Mikotoraw


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