Old House

That house was a long time ago
In a part of town unknown to us
One day we went from the paved roads
To the dirt roads
And there it was
Windows broken
Weeds, as tall as men
We looked around
Slipping inside
A faint smell of old piss
The rooms, small and vacant
In a way only forgotten places can be
But in one room
A small rusted bucket
Blackened by fire
Half-burned charcoal in the bottom
A collapsing chair beside it
And as my friends echoed disappointment
I struggled with the knowledge
That someone lived here
Thinking of the grated furnace
In my own house
A dark mystery of steel
Sunk into our floor
Don’t walk on it Daddy warned
Deep down in the center
Through a tiny window
A blue flame burned endlessly
The quiet popping of heated metal
Warmth caressing my face
While I looked at the bucket
The shriveled lumps of coal
Trying to imagine
The one who needed them

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