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by Ray Stoeve


Last summer, that house
stood vacant, quiet, blue-grey
chipped paint front step untouched
except for a single rose winding
up through the iron railing.
It bloomed again and again.
One night we passed it
glowing under the porch light
still, mysteriously, on
and you giggled while I snuck up
to smell it. I had to.
I knew it was the last time.
The house is
a hole now, smashed to plywood,
the neighborhood reeking
of nail polish remover.
Asbestos, or lead paint, we speculated
and hurried home, the gape of it
gnawing at our periphery,
an itch in the topography,
eyes on a painting following us
all the way up the block.
We are still in love.
We forget nothing.
Even amid wreckage
we bloom again.


Ray Stoeve is a writer and performer born, raised, and based in Seattle, Washington. Rain City Poetry Slam is their poet home. Their poetry and essays have appeared in YES! Magazine and Shift Queer Arts & Literary Magazine, among other publications. They sometimes experiment with drag and multimedia performance art, and are currently working on a young adult novel about a transgender teen. They are a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellow. Offstage, they work with youth in classrooms and after-school programs. Find them online at rayestoeve.wordpress.com.