The Black Dress

By Alexis Orgera

How it begins is always with a symphony that grows
tendrils in the bathtub
or calls snails to dine in the cat's dish.

Every footstep gathers filth to share—

we discovered one night,
buckled into our corners,
that our house wanted a window's refraction

at just the right angles
            to start a flame,
to journey through fire and come out broken

but alive, so I hurried out in my famous black dress
to find wet logs for the fireplace,
and we became rodents in a smoking cage.

This was before you could ask a favor
of your house and watch it dance,
when some light was left to gambol through an Eden of dust.


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