No one would come here for consolation.
It is a finished and unfinished place.

Here, the stone horses are still drowning
in the fountain. Here, everything pretends
it’s not intentional. Just look

at the painstaking imitations of violation
overcome, including window panes broken
and mended in a self-important manner.

Here, even the most ordinary office buildings
have assumed the severity of palaces.

Here, it is already too late: there’s no avoiding
the road ahead, a one-way street

in a city of like-minded streets. There’s nothing
else for you to do but accelerate

past The Museum of the Eating Utensil;
past The Museum of the Round Corner;
past The Chocolate Museum with its tiny reproduction
of a battlefield melting in the window.

At the cemetery, you pull over and park.
Finally, you can abandon your battered roadster.
Finally, you run wildly past the unfamiliar
names, the unmarked graves and across
the rotting railroad tracks, smashing your fluttering
hands on metal Stop signs in streets that grow
increasingly narrow. You must turn sideways
to squeeze into the empty lot at the end of town.

This is where your were born.

The house with gingerbread trim is,
obviously, gone, except for a pile of stones
that is like a cobbled path leading
to the mouth of a stove.

You lie down in that mouth and nap.

Inside your head you are inside the house.
You rub your face against the rough stucco
walls, lick the tile floors, run
on all fours in search of something sweet.

When you wake, your bed of rocks
is drenched and smoking in the cold.

Red stains the dun sky.
You don’t even try.

You curl up and wait for night to come.
You don’t wake up.
You only grow more tired.
You only grow old.