My summer house is empty now. You may know the house. I built one night in a sugared dream. The lights are always on and the oven bakes cookies. The backyard trees blossom but fruit never ripens and the sweet-toothed child eats strawberries and dances to a scratchy phonograph song no one has heard before. But one night, the music stops. I wake. The doctor says no heartbeat, and I see the child is only a folded cloud on an ultrasound. Then I say my summer house is empty now. It lives in a town I didn’t enter because of bad weather. It stands on a street never crossed. Yet some days, when I see my beveled face in a mirror, again I enter that full summer house. I hear its music in the sound of tumbling water and the music is yours too. That’s when I say come in. Because nothing remains empty. Come in. Listen with me, and we will hear the phonograph play the song that was lost before we were born.
Originally published in Bayou Magazine, Issue 49