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1561, I still drive by you without intention; without desire to ever get close to you again. You happened to be on my route today, that's all.

1561, I can whoosh right by you, not looking at you, and still can't escape the ponderous vibes compounded from thirty-two years inside of your aluminum abdomen.

1561, I think about you now, filled as I am with queries about how life goes on within you, when no one ever predicted you'd live to be a monument to a family, let alone house another.

Do they feel it too?; the spirits of existences forced by blood to overlap, until major pieces of psyche and soul got left behind, embedded somewhere between the wall and its peeling, cream-shaded fleur-de-lis paper despite four-fifths of kin still drawing breaths?

Six years removed from you, 1561, and you're the only house I see in my dreams: not dorm rooms, hotels, or my current apartment, but you, and only you. 

I still float

above the ground

when I see you

in dreams.

So it must be, surely, that new tenants sense us, at least our residuum.

How can they not feel the ghost of the man on the couch, haunting upholstered inches with memories of living his best and worst lives, simultaneously?

And what now resides where the PC desk once stood, mom's favorite corner where she planned a getaway, losing her religion and finding it anew?

Can they hear the pages turning by the thousands, as books read themselves on the daily, an educated substitute for real communication?

1561, can I still fall through the weakened floor in the kitchen where I grew up sickly, insides crispy from deep-fried chicken and pickiness (neither of which I struggled with when I was away at college)?

What exists in the main bedroom, once inhabited by a record player, a bed with fragile wooden sides, a closet with church clothes and baseball cards?

Can there be felt

an adventurous essence

in the kids' room,

sister's wild hair

to rearrange everything

in cute new ways

of being?

Or is it engulfed with the specter of worry and nightmares for monsters abiding in the darkened spaces?; with foul scents from a putrid, unused bathroom that did not work and served no purpose (where, ironically, I also kept my christian music)?

Can the sound of a slamming door be heard, triggered by the son who left this house more often and farther than the rest of us dared to venture? Does the phone still ring in defeated tones with confessions that Alaska just didn't work out? Is the air glitched, between the faulty A.C. and the recollection of tripped-out haze from too many stolen oxy's?

This trailer was a den of mental illness that never got diagnosed. Can they feel it? Or did we pack up all that baggage with us?

1561, if walls could talk, they would scream with echoes of storytellers, bracket-makers, and list-takers succumbing to heavy atmospheres and secret motions taboo in every generation.

1561, more than a house, you are the home that raised a queer trio and judged them for it, possessing parents with impossible dualities like 'we will always love you' and 'we're so disappointed with you'.

But maybe i'm deflecting.

Maybe i'm thinking

this whole poem

in a five-second


Maybe the new


of 1561

feel nothing

but the new vibes

they've made.

Still, one thing is certain, one-million percent absolutely unavoidable:

The Swarm.

The creeping, crawling, invading mass army of ants that arrive every year, without fail. 1561, if I know nothing else about your current state, I know this: 

the ants will come in summer to claim you as their own. Thirty-two years of memories pale in comparison to the aeons in which antkind has made this lot their home.


you are ants.

You have always been ants.


I think about ants

as I drive by ants

who have no vibes,

no ghosts,

no essences.

Every house is just ants.

Can you feel it?


ANDREW ROBINETTE is an English teacher from western North Carolina, with dreams of becoming a well-known poet. Andrew is happily married to Cara, the most awesome wife ever. Andrew's inspirations are both literary (Mark Strand, Chuck Palahniuk) and musical (Captain Beefheart, Leonard Cohen). His spirit muse is Karen Carpenter. Andrew's favorite hobby is listening to music. Andrew's favorite color is pink. His favorite bird is the blue jay. His favorite crystal is obsidian. His favorite celebrity is Troian Bellisario.

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