Summoner of Sand / A Familiar House

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Behind our house, I walk to the beach.

The sand is not what it used to be, but

the water sounds the same as that day

where I saw the Grey Heron with a broken wing.

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In one hand he holds the white moon. In the other, he lets the desert

flow off his fingertips.

He puts salt in the sky and pulls tree roots out of the ground.

Never look him in his eye or He’ll blind you with a cloud of dust.

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Teach me your tongue

I want you to learn how to tell time

The number of grains you count

will be the days you have left

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Four walls stand with no window and nothing between.

On a bench of concrete, count the time by the passing of sand.

When there is no light left, you must stand with both eyes open.

Remember the order of each wall and try to climb the ceiling.

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I want to be a farmer, he said to his father.

His father laughed at him and he began to laugh along.

Soon his mother started to laugh and then his brother joined.

Even his dead dog that was buried outside laughed at him.

But this idea of farming was his clearest thought he ever had.

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I harvest grains of sand to honor his name. There is an order to the piles that stand before his altar. Under blue light, he will come to judge my work.

I count the sand and when I reach the hundredth grain, I will hang them from the ceiling with the finest thread.

My fingers are not enough to tie all these strings together. There is blood on the knots and I can’t keep count of how many are left.

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I lived in a white house with black windowpanes. In the bedroom I slept in, there was a locked closet door and my mother was the one with the key.

I asked for the key and she said “never”.

At night, I worked in the woods, carving an ax from tree stumps and old stones.

When there was a night with no moon, I brought the ax to the locked closet.

Inside were winter coats made of fox and hare and I gasped in disbelief of the riches hidden.

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Fortunetellers are inside of me.

They remember when your first boyfriend died.

Choking on someone else’s piss, you kinda cry.

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My brother told our mom that he doesn’t believe in God anymore.

He and I both sat in silence as she threw all the flowers we picked for her out the window.

The fury in her made me want him to apologize, but his stubbornness is just as great as a mother’s rage.

I wonder what our dad will do when my brother tells him he has no God.

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My father locked us in his truck. The streetlight burned my eyes and there was only the hum of white noise.

My brother told me he was going to come back, but I knew he lied.

There was a congregation of moths near the streetlight and I prayed for a bat to come and eat their wings.

My brother slept, but I wanted to see the death of a hundred moths.

My father didn’t come back in the morning, but I felt at ease.

No bat came either, but the morning light drove away the moths.

Now, I pray for my mother to come and find us.

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I raised my voice to my father one night.

He looked at me with a glare and then rose from his chair. He walked past me and left the house through our front door. That night, he stood under the moon with no shoes on.

The next morning he blamed me for his frostbite.

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My father was stabbed in the chest when he was out hunting.

In the morning, I found his body being warmed by the rising sun.

I sat next to him and the hole in his body. There was blood and grass and torn fabric.

I put a flower in the hole and stood to go find my brother.

He whispered, hurry.

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Summoner of Sand, what are you now but an effigy of our sins?

“All I am is the Summoner of Sand.”

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My mom told me to throw away the bones of my dead dog.

But she knew how much I loved him. I kept his skeleton on a shelf above my bed.

I picked bouquets of white and yellow flowers and laid them at his feet.

She said it was satanic to have his bones in our house, but I wouldn’t listen.

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I cut my tongue off and bury it in a block of concrete.

In the ocean, I throw it under waves.

Soon, it will become sand.

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His hands weren’t cold on the day we stood in the water with our family.

He said grey days were his favorite at the beach. I gave him a bouquet of Queen Anne’s Lace and Black Eyed Susans.

He looked back at all his loves and smiled as he walked further into the water.

Glistering like lacquer.

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My brother rolled over and said, “sweet dreams.”

I saw light reflected in his eyes and then they closed.

 

In the night, I am lost between His words and my father’s.

I never know who I should listen to until morning,

but then there are more words I hear.

I will never know. Maybe I should travel the seas.

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Ride with me to the house that we grew up in.

I want us to remember all the times when we ran away for just one night.

 

In our bedroom, the shadows stayed the same, but

I don’t know if you see them the same way I do.

 

Turn around and tell me it feels good to be here, even if it doesn’t.

And I’ll do the same for you.

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We buried our dog in the woods behind the house.

When it snows, I go and sit besides the tombstone we built.

It’s cold, but I don’t mind. I want to be near him.

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I took my father’s guilt and gave it to the Summoner of Sand.

He looked at me and said that this wasn’t my father’s guilt. It belongs to me.

“A father’s guilt is always part of his son. I am here to give myself to you.”

The Summoner opened his hands to me and I followed him into the desert.

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I found my brother singing in my mother’s bedroom.

He held her cross in his hands and swayed to the song.

In a moment, he stopped and fell to his knees.

He ended the song and placed the cross to his forehead. I turned to leave,

but I heard him whisper my name.

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Our father told my brother to go upstairs and get his gun.

He needs to find the creature that lives under my bed.

And when he finds it, he wants me to hold the gun to its head.

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I hold your hand and tell you that you’ve gambled your time.

You stare at the floor with a quite grin and count the petals plucked from the bouquet. 

Your wish was sincere. You say you’ll wait, at least until Sunday.

 

“Our grave will be filled outside the church and I feel like I can smile.”

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He lost track in flowers

Lost track of the hours

He doesn’t know who follows

Time has changed his mind

 

I leave without you

Maybe you will see my reflection

when I am not in your possession.

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I stumble into design.

Every night, I lose my way across the waves.

In a hand, there is no other way to see what is made. I want no damage. 

I follow the passage to the center and pull the lines together to make it clear.

There’s no purity in belief, there’s only truth in structure.

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He took me to the beach to collect some sand.

He said he wants to build a wall.

I looked at the sea and then back at him.

He had something in his eye, a grain of sand.

I wiped it away with a finger and told him that I could help.

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In the desert, he told me he found his name buried under sand.

And now that he has his, I am ready to search for my name in the sea.

He said I would know when. It is like finding a memory.