I’ve always been fond of demolition.

Ripping out carpet

Pulling nails

Poking around inside horsehair plaster walls

Removing and dissecting

The shredded newspaper pages

Of a long-abandoned mouse nest;

Discovering someone’s secret drinking spot

Revealed by ancient whiskey bottles

Tucked away in my attic rafters

Just out of sight.

Lately I’ve been examining the drop ceilings

In my kitchen

Curious what’s above them

Hoping for tin-tiles

When I’ll probably uncover

Crumbling plaster.

My daughter worries over my

Desire for exploratory destruction.

I laugh it off

But I know


What I’m hunting for

Isn’t more historical curiosities

It’s not empty whiskey bottles

Or beadboard

Or the original hardwood floor;

It’s the distraction

From something more internal

A wound I keep changing the bandage on

That hurts too much to touch.

These layers are much harder

To peel back

Than a drop-ceiling

Or carpeting and sticky sub-floor

And when removed

I don’t know if what I’ll find

Is worth the work

If it can be restored

Or if it’s too far gone.


As with all things

My curiosity will win over

In the end.

Good or bad

Or terrifying

I’ll keep peeling these layers back.

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