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Doug Bolling’s poems have appeared in Slant, Posit, Water-Stone Review, Poetry Pacific, Connecticut River Review, About Place Journal and Chaffin Journal among others. He has received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations and several awards and lives next door to Chicago.


Trigger Warning

This house is already surrounding me.
Each room has its reach,
its history of ownership.

Each room is the plot of the
death of us one by one
in the paths through the

calendar, that machine of
our own invention with the
terminal day hidden from view.

The old people called to god
in these rooms. They made their
beds over the dust, over the

memories that wouldn’t go away.
They stood at attention during
the hymns. They lit candles to

celebrate the coming of light
from its long hiding place
in the valleys of history,

in the soul. They watched me
grow from the small grains of
my parents and begin the rituals

of rooms. They told me nobody
ever escapes the house of birth.
They told me a lifetime is just

so many changes in location,
a brief peregrination that
imagines the new but returns

to these same walls hoarding
their years of words, of almost
love and necessary sorrow.

They told me I would travel in a
large circle never leaving here,
always coming back.

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