Shelter

by Evan Martinez

This house is on the outskirts of the city and it is out of order, a leak from upstairs finally bursting through a light fixture in the ceiling, the ceiling thoroughly depressed. The drops are muddy. Their splotches make dirty art. I put an aquamarine tub under the invisible hole because aquamarine is a nice summery color and summer means desire and salvation are out to play

a slick tug of war on skin.

 

Somewhere in history a man builds this house for his wife and three sons. They are all dead now but the talk of the town is that his ghost is happy a family lives here again.

 

I don’t know what ghosts want, but it’s not gossip.

 

I lay on the couch, asleep but alive. The dream goes something like this:

 

The sun is shining, the trees are green, and the walls have disappeared. There’s been an accident and I know this because a girl is holding her head and her head is bleeding and she’s calling for help. Birds flit in and out, singing, but they won’t say why. The street is on fire, or it’s not. Who can really tell.

 

Somewhere within screaming distance a man thinks about how to fix my leak. His son told him where the house was and my father showed him where the leak was but no one showed him where the heart hides. He will bring his saw and wrench and do his best to mend fixtures rendered obsolete before he was an aspiration, a cove in someone's new world.

 

There is an agency next to our house. It tells us why we eat sugar after salt. It tells us where to neuter our cat. It tells us what to wear to look like we don’t care what we look like. It tells us how to steal. It tells us where to find naked butts, distended stomachs, someone to give us a new name.

 

There’s no replacement for losing yourself, nothing is more expensive.

 

In the country, the sky burns because it can. We certainly can’t without shedding our skin, without a messy, stinky, affair. The cameras would turn on us only to wish they hadn’t. Irony is not a strong enough poison, give me turpentine and lava. Give me celery and rotting carcasses. Splice me and deliver my softer parts to the past in a three piece hazmat suit.

 

The house where it all began, out of order. Impermeable cross beams rectified and strong. Floor boards groaning low. Brand new lights. Aging plaster. A family man puts finishing touches on a roof and has visions of deluge on a beautiful day.

About the Author

Evan Martinez is an an empath by nature and a cynic by nurture. He works as an RBT in Maryland. His writing can be found in Poached Hare, Granada, the Bangalore Review, and Windows Facing Window Review.