The Finding

I had to negotiate to get in here, this place.
This house was guarded good by some jobsworth building supervisor
with cracked curling sneer, disinterested in my investigations.
Sun’s low and the brown dry dust films my parched lips,
blown up from the filthy pavement;
I run my tongue over the gritty residue
and there’s no place round here to get a drink.
This house is condemned.
They’re just waiting for the permit to bring in the guys
with their dynamite and ‘dozers to flatten this wreck down.
I kick open the door, lockless, ‘cos there ain’t nothing here worth takin’ any more,
and that low slow burning sun cuts deep into the shadows inside
through the dancing motes and the stale stench of old memories and fungal spore
that drowns my nostrils in strange acidic revulsion.
There’s an old mildewed chair here on its side,
wooden legs scratched and gnawed by teeth of beasts
that must be hiding here someplace, watchin’ and waitin’.

I fall on my knees. Searching. Longing.
I ram my hand into a hole in the floor to wrench up a board,
the sound of cracking tearing wood disturbs the splintered peace,
and I whip the flashlight from my pocket to peer into the secrets beneath.

It’s there.

I catch the reflection of light on cold hard metal
and I thrust my arm down, coat catchin’ and tearin’
and my fool’s hand blindly reachin’ round
to catch a hold of it,
to get some purchase on its sweet slick surface
and my fingers slide over the smoothed out corner
‘til they find the stub of a handle and I lift it up,
wrestlin’ it through the tight space into the room
and I lay it down like a baby.
I’ve waited years for this, years of shame,
years of huntin’ and searchin’ and prayin’
for the time when all prayer stops and the truth rings cold
and the devil’s paid off and my soul is sold.
I flip the catch, and catch my breath,
then slowly creak the ancient lid into its open inclination
while the light pours out and streams across the wounded floor
to race up walls and into cracks so old and deep so fast
it would make an aging hooker groan for more
‘Til the whole damn room is full and bright
and shining out with opalescent light
while I cup it up in my big, soft hands
and tender breathe it into trembled life.
My voice.

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