Maybe it was the shock
that we’d gotten what we’d paid for.
Thinking the inspections had revealed
all we needed to know about flaws
and weaknesses. How little we knew
until the contract was signed,
when we could really start prying.
A quick fixer-upper turned
The initial demolition the happiest
time, nothing at stake in destroying
what was damaged beyond repair.
Layers of broken linoleum atop
a rotting wood floor, the roof
hardly holding on. Concrete piers
holding up the house’s underbelly
dwindling like hourglass grains.
All the little skeletons hidden
within badly patched drywall:
empty bottles, needles, razor blades,
a child’s crumpled birthday card.
Uncovering the decline
from honest duplex to dive bar,
flop house, low-rent housing.
The last tenant’s psych meds
in the trash out back,
pharmaceutical confetti littering
the bottom of the can. Leaving
them for us, as if he’d known
how every improvement
would set us another step back.
Shoring up the foundation
revealing instability in our own.
Repairing walls showing
how ours were crumbling.
The new metal roof exposing
our own leaks.
Even leveling the yard found us
stumbling on uneven ground,
slumlords to a delusion,
years of gloating over something we had
that no one else could touch, or so we told.
Ignoring what buckled and swayed,
what frayed and grew black mold.