Tell the stained glass windows I apologize

When I was a child,
I found your ceiling underneath my feet.

It took me all damn day to free the rafters,
another year to walk your floors
without coughing,
but as I stood there
with my father’s shovel on my shoulder
and my mother’s kerchief wrapped around my face
I saw my shadows in your archways
and my reflection in your dingy mirrors.
This is home.

It was weird to find you in my backyard.
Seems my parents should have found you first
or the millions of people who came here
who passed you by and never bothered to look
let alone poke through the roots of the earth
for your beauty.

I don’t know who lived here first.
I can’t see them though I hear their footsteps
sometimes– your heart is full of ramshackle hallways
and the ghosts of a saint who can’t sleep.
Felt like I’d been scrubbing dirt from those murals
for three hundred years, instead of just three.
My parents wanted to know where I went all the time.
I told them I didn’t know, but it was pretty.

The girl next door likes your high ceilings.
The climb is easy and she claims that this is hers,
abandoned the tree she likes to play in.
And I guess I expected you to shake her loose,
to see me with my dirty knees and my sleephunger
and keep your doors closed.
You didn’t.
You’re just a fucking castle.

So goodbye, old friend.
Farewell.
I’ll miss your floors, your windows,
the echoes I heard my name in
back in the days when you liked me.
And as for the new girl, goodbye to her too.
I hope she knows her way with a shovel
though more for your sake, than for hers.

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