There is a guest in my reclining chair. He is made of bricks, acid trickling between them like blood. At first I was deafened by his silence, then it began to make sense, tenor bees sorting themselves from the drone, I could use the words I was hearing. He pushed me around with long white arms that grew in all directions, taunting, telling me I must become nothing to love him, then hating me for being nothing, trying to slap it out of me like the last penny rattling in a jar of change. I hit back, until he shattered in a thousand crumbs, stale loaf. No more cryptic stories mummified in his nibbling mouth. I stood up to leave, summers ago, in a different room. Wrinkles seeped from the bed sheets. He was on the phone to a distant country. I dealt him a hand of cards, and afterwards, couldn’t speak even the simplest phrases. He’d become my slave, in the dust at my feet, I had to kill many people to keep his attention. The house was no longer mine, no house was mine, and in the chaos after the earthquakes I saw him wandering, churchless, child- less, and everything I needed he gave me until there was nothing left in the world but a few rocks, lakes.