Each day I pass the same six houses. Six
sisters in a row, cut off from the rest by a bridge ramp. Five are
abandoned, one burned out, the others boarded up. But the sixth, the end
house, has a neat green rug on the front porch and curtains in the
windows. On warm mornings, a woman sits outside on a plastic lawn chair
facing the sun. She is immovable as a homesteader, calm as a duchess,
and alert as a guard dog. Today I passed
the house in the afternoon. A school bus stopped and let out a boy,
maybe 12 years old. He waved goodbye to his friends, strolled up to the
house, and walked inside as if he lived on Easy Street. As if his
neighbors were not rats and arsonists and the lost ghosts of industry.
As if he had a lawn in front and a swimming pool out back. I want to buy
them that house with the lawn and the pool, but I can't. I want to slip
a hundred dollar bill under their door on Christmas Eve, but I owe
everyone money. I wonder if there'll be lights in the window.