for Stevens James

Who mooted the question of place, a home
page for life, the settling on a site where
load-bearing life might stick? Now cul-de-sacs

clone themselves in caustic red-roofed suburbs,
every home corroding behind its wall
of cinders, every school bus burning

with change-of-route desire. Head hunters
know that empty slots will not fill themselves:
lunch, whispers, drinks, kickers, calls, options, perks

provide the necessary romance. House
hunting, job hunting: food around a fire
and fire scorching cave is what we’ve come to

since the age of Olduvai. More things change
more quickly but stay the same more slowly.
Lucy didn’t need broadband to crack

a nut or dig tubers. They’ll pay points, coming
and going. They’ll eat the brokers’ fees. They’ll
box you, truck your cars, move your crap, put you

up for days in suites, fly you down for free.
What you leave behind—the nail holes behind
pictures, the porch and fading deck—connects

this time to another that can’t be dragged
and dropped: drunk collage of college midnight
movies, green-gray vibe at mom’s funeral,

smell and squeal of baby Matt and marriage.
History. Now home is keys and numbers
on a curb, someone’s bad taste not yet rubbed

from the walls, a confusing area
code your fingers frustrate. Start again: wave
hello to suntanned strangers, with their beaming

doors and locked smiles rimming your outpost.
Dig through your lawn for weeds. Say hey to whales
beneath your plane, migrating and singing.