Treasure Island

Zachary Pangburn


His House


The burnt out
ends of cigarettes abound,
like the hills of California, in an ashtray in front of him.

He breathes.
He can feel the
constrictions in
his chest. They
hold him down.
They hold him
in.
They hold him
back,
and they
make him panic.
Make him sweat.

It seems that that,
is all -that- he has done lately.
What was the point of even
taking the time, the energy
to worry?

He cannot keep still any longer.
His mind so far away, his toes
digging into the earth,
of his thoughts.
Was this home
“His home”
anything more than a concept?
A trick, a hallucination?
A mere figment of his
imagination?

He stands,
straight just like his pappy taught him,
the same way his grandfather stood.
The same way his brother stood.

He puts on his boots,
coal black and shined to reflect
the whole entire world,
slowly.

The whiskey he sips,
between the drags of the cigs
lit 'twixt his fingertips,
burns.

Though, he appreciates the burn.
It takes his mind off of his chest.
It gives him courage, just enough,
to pour himself another.

Whiskey, neat, with a splash of water.
Lately though, he hasn’t bothered with
the splash of water. That is time he could
spend with the drink, instead of the people.

He looks around the room.
Nothing familiar. Had it been that long?
No, better yet, had anything been familiar?
Ever? Here?

Take these family portraits
off the wall he coos to no one.
That is not who -we- are, nor was
it ever he sings to the ghosts in the walls.

He collapses, his chest heaving.
They say that home is where
the heart is, but if that were true,
then his luck had run out too soon.

He seems to have lost his heart
somewhere on the road, on
his way out, years ago.
So eager, unable to notice.

Maybe he lost it on
94 headed north?
Dropped in a snow bank,
thawed, and sent down the
Mississippi?

He decided that’s where
he’d take a look next,
just as soon as he could
get out - of this house.
“His house.”

Submitted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Edited: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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