Poetry: How to De-Construct A Family



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

in-between floors.

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

another

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