PROSE BY NICK MORRISSEY
Floor Plans For A Single-Family Dwelling
You only like to look at yourself in the middle of the night. Everyone
has to be asleep, you said—shadowed—or the whole castle is lost. I asked
What’s the castle and you responded What’s not the castle and we both learned nothing. You,
hovering above a mirror and throwing rocks. There was blood, I found it, tasted it. You can’t
be underdressed with a red lip, I read that once, so I was in my finest tasting copper while
you stared at glass. Not staring. Unstaringly unstartled. I have always feared myself and you
have always taken the last of the dark like a birthday present. My lonely socialite and your empty
rooms. I have loved you across every graveyard and battlement, the death that brings me halfway
to any ocean: a mote, whether in the eye or bridging water. I drown the good airless longing
and the nuisance at your periphery, also me. We still haven’t answered the question about castles,
it doesn’t matter, you build them or they crumble. We were discussing the center of the evening
and what you do with it. I fog up windows, I imagine myself married, I break covenants and tell
myself Better tomorrow but it’s tomorrow already and better is relative and my legs shake when I
sit or stand or weep for no one into my own dry hands. You stare in the mirror and lick your teeth,
you choose your beliefs and then you create them. You kiss the sleepers’ eyelids and seep through
the air vents, chimneys, fog-frosted windows. I haunt the hallways. There’s the difference.
This is how you make a castle: love something and wait. This is how you put a ghost inside it:
love something else. Move.
Nick Morrissey is a poet and essayist from Tennessee who has been previously published in The Rumpus and Pink Plastic House. You can find his occasional newsletter at tinyletter.com/thismausoleum
Comments are closed.