All around him the chanting swelled, Harm no one, harm no one. What the hell did that mean? He was going to have to shoot the poor son of a bitch, but maybe that was a far better way to go than what the house of horrors had planned. This was a hell of a way for men to die, even if they deserved it.

I should have asked why any room in the house was better than home to me when she entered it, and barren as a desert when she went out again-why I always noticed and remembered the little changes in her dress that I had noticed and remembered in no other woman’s before-why I saw her, heard her, and touched her (when we shook hands at night and morning) as I had never seen, heard, and touched any other woman in my life?

The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.

I open my eyes.
I want to know:
what is in the abyss of a kiss?
Are stars born in these black caves
that house bated breaths and unspoken words?
Do our souls crawl on these tender cheeks
to greet one another by ivory gates?
What happens when we kiss?
Where do you go?
Don’t tell me.
For I have lost my desire to know.
Kiss me
so that I forget myself.
I close my eyes
and fall in the abyss.

At forty-three, I bought my first house. I’d wanted one like crazy. A house meant family, a happy childhood for my litttle girl and for the little girl self inside me. . . . I was soon overwhelmed by the upkeep and overcome by the yardwork. . . . In the bright light of closing, it was obvious: it was never a house I wanted; it was what a house symbolized to me. (254)

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