He built our walls on a small patch of grass that was sometimes flooded in the spring. Four beams rested on the earth, no cement rooting them. When we wanted, we became nomadic. Gathering fallen arms of trees, we had the option of prying them between dirt and wood and suspending our walls in air. Wrapping our fingers up and around the oak frame, our home in our palms, we would walk east, or sometimes west. The nicest wood he placed closest to the earth, and I never quite figured out why.
The walls housed a six inch pocket between the outer and inner layer. The insulation that we never got around to was instead grown over with weeds and bean sprouts. In the summer, you could see these sprouts leaping between the cracks in the roof. I sometimes climbed a ladder to harvest them. Once I imagined that as my nimble hand wrapped around the squirmy sprout, it shot up into the sky, propelling me beside the stars. The thunder of his falling tree dropped me flat to the roof before I could grab a handful of stardust.
In the next weeks he carved out our bed from the wound of the tree. I hung peonies from the south-west wall upside down, and once they dried, I collected their pedals in glass jars on which we had painted portraits of timid foxes. Each day we worked in silence, him keeping focus, as I tried to keep to myself. We spoke between the friction of sandpaper, through the scraping of a fine grain on timbre. Our walls became paper thin. Once nightfall came, we used real words, like “I’m sorry” and “let me go”. They couldn’t come close to the touch of sandpaper against my right hip.
The second summer, and into winter, I learned of his caring nature. He never left an animal or me for dead. His laboured hands nursed us to health, or tried to. When a wild hare or an injured deer finally lay their backs to the soil, he gathered their fur for our bed. And so we rest atop his burden of failure,
and my vision of his hopes.