It’s either a dead worm or part of a banana adhered to the grout in the kitchen tile; it’s gotten that bad, the house. Shrew-killing season in full swing for the cats and some, catch and release style. The cats are sisters and work together when hunting and position themselves on either side of the sectional couch, with Dawn and her headlamp and broom, trying to get it out.
The dog doesn’t know what to do with the dead shrew so she holds it in her mouth, spits it out, then squats over it, pees.
And my hearing is worse now from eight days in the garage with loud music, washed-out, far away, resurfacing at the kids’ school in the drop off corral air-drumming to Led Zeppelin with the windows down, a permanent crick in my back from lurking about the upper loft, its low ceilings.
The kids make a Leprechaun trap out of an empty case of beer that says Wellcum with friendly smily faces to lure the Leprechauns inside, and fix the door closed with a 2″ wood screw and some glue. It’s amid the other clumps in the garage that have a logic only I can articulate, with paths carved out from one room to the next.
On Tuesday I dismantled five tool boxes and grouped items by species to work out the redundancies, a kind of corporate down-sizing. And I yanked items by the napes of their necks and hauled them out of the house with their roots screaming and buried them in bins to be hauled off and buried elsewhere in the earth.
An inordinate number of pocket-sized black combs, as if for some school project, breeding like eyeless spiders exposed to light. Contacts on scraps of paper never made. Subjects in photos I can’t identify, ticket stubs from the Tube, 1994. Something died or leaked out at the bottom of the bin and there are brass tacks clumped together in a jelly substance, interlocked.
If you believe what we own is a part of us, getting rid of the unwanted parts is like sloughing off dead cells, brown leaves, the remains.
There was a year I had a Word of the Day desktop calendar and I loved the words so much I saved all of them loose in a box, believing they held some secret fortune. And I could not throw them out without going through them one by one and keeping some for the refrigerator.
Topo maps in Ziploc bags, a 10 pound note in a birthday card from my step-dad’s estranged father to him, a brief signature, the note unspent.
Cut up credit card shards, loose change, binder clips, condoms, tea bags, a plastic device used for joint-rolling, puzzle pieces, locks without combinations.
Our house is a wreck but it’s lived-in, I’ve let it go. When it smells I open a window and burn sage over it. You can tell a house that’s not lived-in, it aches to be inhabited. It has different smells, it’s hollow.
I watch Charlotte cross the street and get on the bus and she turns around many times to see if I’m still there and I am.