she collects pebbles
until her hands are stiff. her fingers
cramp up from inspecting them
and her skirt pocket tears away
under the weight.

at home she tucks them
into corners, glues them
in place. tries
not to breathe in the fumes.

the leather satchel is torn,
strips of material peeling away
in places
and she kicks it under the desk.

home is familiar,
with its patch on the carpet where she
always spills some green tea
when pouring.
home is vulnerable.

she works to make it
a fortress,
keep the wind out
and bar anyone from looking in.
sometimes she wonders if they
are mutually exclusive.

when she runs out of interior
to blockade,
she turns to the exterior.
it looks odd,
this house with rough pebbles
cemented to its outside.

she locks the heavy door behind her
and pours another cup of tea. too fast:
some of it stains the carpet.

well. it’s familiar.

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