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