Will Clingan

The House

Out here there is no road to the house. Sits in wide open space and might nev­er be found because of kudzu. Birds had flown through a bro­ken win­dow in the attic. Made a home inside my home. Someone had found it and cov­ered every­thing inside with teal paint. The clock went off at the strik­ing of the hour with its coo-coo going twelve times. All the chest of draw­ers held no clothes or for­get­menots. Water out of the faucets appeared to be rust­ed. Pictures had fal­l­en from the walls with squares of no teal paint left there. Sheets on the bed were stripped. No dial­tone on the receiver, fin­ger­tips cov­ered in dust. The birds began to flut­ter. A young wom­an stood at the kitchen win­dow. Her lips moved, but no sound came out. She was hap­py and took me down the hall­way. Said, Speak up. She laughed in silence as mus­cles in her throat and chest moved. And she squeezed my hands. Took me back to the kitchen to cook and found no food. Said, It’s okay. Stroked her hair as she rest­ed her head on my chest. The birds began to flut­ter. Shook my fist their way. Said, Stop that. Said, Get out of my house. Went out­side to see the land cov­ered in kudzu and sur­round­ed by a lake. Saw my cous­in row­ing a boat in. He said, Took you so long? Said, Don’t know myself. He said, Here’s an olive branch. Handed me beer. He said, Got an anchor back home weigh­ing me down. Said, Cut the rope. He said, Cut the kudzu. Walked to front door with our machetes hack­ing away. He said, I’m going bananas and ripen­ing just as fast. He said, Been gone for almost ten years. Said, Don’t rec­og­nize my own home. Shook my fist their way in the attic. Said, Get out. He said, Weather changes and birds leave. Drank beer and cut kudzu. Slept on a stripped mat­tress. Thought of it as still dark. He said, Kudzu grew back. Shook my fist at their flut­ter­ing and squawks. The clock went coo-coo twelve times. Said, Let’s go to your boat. He said, There’s only an anchor tying me down. Said, No, let’s go to your boat. He said, Only back home is where the anchor is tying me down. Took a shov­el down and went to stick it into the soil. Couldn’t hear the train com­ing into town. Could only hear waves and seag­ulls. Said, You see and hear this? He said, Home’s the only anchor. Put the shov­el down in the kudzu. Went back in to sit on my bare mat­tress. He came in and sat beside me. He said, You been gone for ten years. Said, Can’t change it. He made his way out into the kudzu. Shook my fist the way at the attic. Went out and didn’t see him any­more. Said, Been gone ten years. Don’t even know my own home. Home is the only anchor weigh­ing it down.

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Will Clingan is an English stu­dent at the University of Mississippi. He has work pub­lished on Popmatters and in UNSAID Magazine.