LATER, BEFORE WE SOLD IT for a loss but after you were gone, I drove up the massive hill in my old pickup with the salt-rusted chassis. The city skyline visible below on a clear day. The whole truck seemed to lurch; the sound of metal screeching against metal. Two lawnmowers tied in the back with bungee cords.
We knocked down that one-story bungalow on the Avenue. Back where the township touched town proper. Up the hill and under three train trestles till there was no mistaking which side of the tracks you were on. Where mansion row abruptly stopped. Built a home more in line with the prestige of that address. Still, people called it the house with the water tower behind it. And you and I filled that empty house to show. I touched your bare-thin stomach at the farmhouse sink while you readied a few dishes. Held you at the threshold of the grand foyer. Your tenderest mouth pressed to my ear. The front parlor so insulated you couldn’t make out the sound of the road. You said you preferred the bedroom over the garage. Said in the summer we’d hoist movies onto that faded-green tin behemoth with a projector and invite the lower neighborhoods. The twin second-floor front rooms for the children. Your mother could have the master if it gave us more privacy in the back. Us, the eye-sore mixed couple and our tower. You said a lot of things then.
I wept as I made passes up and down our front yard hill. The old massive willow on the right-side border. Waved without looking at the neighbors who wandered by at a safe distance. Still, some force beckoned them by to get a closer view. The tower peeking over the middle of the double gable roofline like a tomcat. Look at the bastard who thought he could move up, marry out. He’s broken now. And I was. Though I was fine when the first mower seized and smoked in the middle of that grand hill.
Rogan Kelly is a writer and poet. His work has appeared in many notable journals, including The Cortland Review, Diode, New Orleans Review, The Penn Review, and Pidgeonholes. He has one chapbook, Demolition in the Tropics (Seven Kitchens Press 2019). He is the editor of The Night Heron Barks.