How to de-construct a family
REMOVE PART A FROM PART B
My family is a building site. We can slide from top to bottom in 10 seconds to avoid all those messy
Problem 1: Those in-between floors need building too.
INSERT PART C INTO PART F
In our house, someone left the sand out and it rained. Now
the sand covers everything. It's like egg shells that settle
in every corner, under every nail.
Problem 2: Sand is hard to shake off, it drags you back, a dry hole
refilling over and over and over (me?)
CONNECT SCREW 7 TO PART G
People kept moving the floorboards and
I got hurt so
many times I stopped
walking around the house, Now, when I visit, I am a surveyor
trying to =add= them together.
Problem 3: The count is wrong or I am?
AFFIX SCREW 5 INTO PARTS A AND C
I know how our room was built but not how to keep it together.
When we built it, angles made sense but the walls kept moving and the doors don’t lead where I knew in another time
Problem 4: My mind wanders in our past
and now I smell warning gas.
ATTACH PART H TO PART E
When a house subsides, it happens millimetre by millimetre
and I’m holding it up like a leaning tower
and the love explodes out like lava when the pipes fracture and the memories are irremovable plasters
layers upon layers upon lay here with me
and remember how the sky was clear and blue and we smashed that wall
like Lego bricks
Problem 5: Breaking the walls left us saturated in dust.
INSERT PART... SOMETHING... SOMEWHERE
I learned love from a cement mixer. It turns and twists and hardens if you let it rest. The scraping sound of spreading cement echoes in my ears, the way bricks fit together and if they don’t,
you break them.
Problem 6: I didn’t fit. I’m sorry.
INSERT SCREW 279 INTO ANOTHER HOLE WE FOUND
You can still love a house if the roof tiles are missing and things leak in the walls are warping from the flood the floorboards can’t hold the pressure and they’re flammable and smoke rises because voices battle like a forest fire doesn’t care for trees.
Problem 7: I thought erasure would be silence
but building a new house is a set of controlled implosions,
rebuilding a heart without an architectural drawing.
...CAN ANYONE SEE THE INSTRUCTIONS?
Problem 8: I make mistakes.
Nikki is managing editor of streetcake magazine and also runs the streetcake writing prize and MumWrite. She has a chapbook and collection with KFS, with another forthcoming soon. She is the winner of the Virginia Prize 2020 and her second novel will be published in 2021. Her website is: nikkidudleywriter.com or you can find her on twitter: @nikkidudley20