I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett

I Have


I have never been so tired in my whole life.
The mountains run across
the river—pointing
like a knife. Forlorn
boathouses perched out on rotting piers.
Empty lots of naked scrub.
A water tower.
A column of fire.
The lattice of clouds make
sparkling fishmouth,
the intervening atmosphere,
twinkling distant lights.
Crepuscular, this stand of trees.
In my hands, a paperback—
its yellowing leaves.
Everything I have
and everything
I need.




It may not be as surprising to you
as it was surprising to me
to learn that a bird makes no home.

I often think of them out in the rain.
This is my home. There is dust
in the corners. A hole in the sheetrock

I have to fill, then sand, then paint.
We bought some furniture
for the porch, but it’s too cold out

now to use. A dog likes to sleep
surrounded on three sides.
Then I recall, for a bird,

the sky is solid—a bird’s house
is larger than mine. We built
a fire in the yard, and drank beers

the night our cat died. My coat
reeks of smoking pine. Fire is
the soul of the wood, raveling

back into the air, the trunk,
the living built to house itself
over time. A tree is its own house,

and a bird’s, and mine.

Benjamin Harnett
Benjamin Harnett is a historian, fiction writer, poet, and digital engineer. His works have appeared recently in Pithead Chapel, Brooklyn Quarterly, Moon City Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. His story Delivery was chosen as Longform’s Story of the Week. He holds an MA in Classics from Columbia University and in 2005 co-founded the fashion brand Hayden-Harnett. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife Toni and their pets. He can be found most days on Twitter: @benharnett. He works for The New York Times.

Featured image: Memory of a Tree (2) by Noluck at flikr.com. CC license.

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