house bones

the noise startled me as i pedaled by; a rattling, like cracked thunder, or an impossibly large snare drum. smells drifted, parting as i pushed through, raw sawdust and smoke. it was the house, the house that had been demolished months ago, and raised from scratch.

i had watched in disbelief as its feet were embedded under the soil even as i thought it was too cold for concrete work; the noise i heard was sheets of tyflec, stretched thin across the skeleton frame to protect fresh-placed plywood, vibrating in the strange late season winds.

my mother once read from a journal she kept when i was a child. "here, we went for a walk past a house under construction. i pointed at it and said, 'look, this house doesn't have windows yet!' and you said, 'it does have windows, they just haven't installed glass.'"

i don't remember that day, but i remember countless others: of when i snuck into incomplete houses to walk along the bare foundation, the earth a dozen feet below me; of when i crept through hanging forests of electrical wire and scattered power tools; of the racks of screw-gun bandoliers i stole to keep under my bed because i liked to twist the plastic; of climbing piles of excavated dirt, sometimes sinking, sometimes filling my shoes and socks and wondering if i could clean the tar off my clothes before my mother noticed.

i know what the inside of a house looks like, the space between the walls, the gaps between the floors. sometimes, the idea that we are separated just by being in different rooms seems a farce.

21 February 2018 22:05

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