When we peel back the paint
the wood is not different.
Know that you built this house.
Do not shame it.
If it leaks, your curses
do not keep out the rain.
Lay the buckets, let it pour into itself.
Let its steel drum song, sing you soft again.
If the floors creak,
worn with the running of dogs,
children, lovers who left
or never came at all.
Call them wind chimes,
call them ushers
who have always led you to a good seat.
Call them a room in your house.
A sacred place to weep,
rock, come undone in laughter.
When the door knob rusts,
praise its opening still,
extol the ten thousand journeys
That which is buried on one side.
That which you coaxed
back to breath on the other,
all lived here, in this wilting wood.
In this shack made mansion
by the grace of seconds
piled upon the other
like smart kindling.
The kind that knows how
to start the fire
burn through the night.
The kind that wakes us up
warm but has kept enough
of its own thin bones to flame again.
What should we call this
but shelter? How we kept the wolves out
or didn't. How we always survived the attack.
We are alive in this plaster and spit.
When the hurricane flung the city in tantrum
we were the house obstinate. Our own sweet timber
did not betray us. How dare we damn these buckled beams?
What are we if not, a testimony of carpentry?
A hammer and nail altar, a temple in which to worship
ourselves if we say so.
If we call a thing broken so it is.
If we call it fortress so shall it be.
So be fortress.
Be a stronghold against the hail.
Be the gift you gave yourself
for making it through
in the house you built.
Even if it is only lit by candle.
Even as it aches, weeps
like a forest forgotten.
Even with its doll house bones,
it is still castle.
Be the keeper that lets the light in.
Be the garden still fond of the soil
of her own rich palms.
Be shameless and spilling over every edge.
Never once questioning how you
can stare such a big God in the eye.
There is so much you have saved you from
in the good thing you built.
Tonight, before the crust of sleep takes you,
in the twilight of your own forgiveness,
stand before this weathered tower as architect,
gaze at what you made
as furiously as a mother made you.
In that lighthouse quiet
perhaps for the first time say,