Wise Poets – Scott Owens – Cleaning House

Scott Owens

Pulling the house down piece by piece,
we see each other at our worst
before we’ve even had our first date,
my face itching with black insulation,
yours covered with white dust of sheetrock.
We scrape off paint and paper, buff out
spots, old glue, unexplained
stains, remove tacky paneling
revealing forgotten charm, original
beadboard, hard woods, solid ceilings.
We’re woefully unprepared, untrained,
undertooled, cutting off pipes
with hacksaws, filling holes with toothpicks,
brillo pads, good wood pulled
up from where it wouldn’t be seen.
An odd sort of courting really,
hammer and nails instead of flowers,
microwaved Hot Pockets for meals,
red wine in paper cups, all glasses
still mysteriously packed away.
Ripping out rotted casements of windows,
hollow doors, seven layers of floor,
we sweat together, swear together,
bend in unison towards the necessary
destruction that always precedes renewal.


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