dVerse — Poetics — Rental

Abandoned Detroit Homes for Sale

Vinyl siding that covers ant-chewed planks,
chipped and broken from bottles and baseballs.

Concrete steps, cracked from earth-settling, chip-
ped when the second-hand fridge got delivered.

All windows glass dusty panes, except one’s plastic;
the flaked painted molding shows rot, disintegration.

The door is hollow core, with many ghosts of locks,
kick holes towards the floor of the bare wood porch.

Children’s piercing screams welcome me, the friendly
visitor, as I knock once, twice, then thrice.

Oh, it’s you. Come on in. Take off your shoes.”

A mangy-looking cat curls around my legs
and a too-quiet pit bull walks up to sniff my crotch.

Do you mind putting the dog away?”

Don’t worry, he’s friendly.”

To you,” (I say, to myself.)

The six year-old, wearing shorts and a goodly portion of mud,
grabs, “King’s” collar and leads him through an obstacle course
of broken toys, drying feces and hairballs, junk food packages,
mounds of dirty laundry, and away.

The baby in the grubby playpen wears a saggy, smelly diaper
and holds a bottle of what looks like curdling milk,
his saucer eyes red from crying. I can see his ribs.

I sock-feet the gauntlet to the couch with broken springs sticking out
and open the folder in my hand that has forms with questions.
She’s in the kitchen and yells out, “Go ahead and start.”

She’s open, honest, and doesn’t realize that her answers
are giving me the ammunition needed to take even
this humble dump – and her children – away from her.

 

random image found here

Laura is today’s host for dVerse’ Poetics.  Laura wants us to write about an imaginary house.  I wrote one yesterday about my dream house(boat.)  This one is not about any house in particular except in my head.  It’s a composite of many houses I’ve been in during my government job (now retired.)  It’s about the house but it’s about so much more (as you can see.)

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Xan says:

    Oh, that’s searing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s also an indictment that every slum lord deserves. They milk the system more than any poor family ever thought of.

      Like

      1. Xan says:

        Yes, that comes through.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Helen Dehner says:

    This is brutal! And yes, slum lords must be held accountable.

    Like

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Helen. I wish I could say they ever are…

      Like

    2. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Helen. I wish I could say they are…

      Like

  3. Sadje says:

    Such a heartbreaking story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Sadje. It is heartbreaking in many ways 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome! Yes it is

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dale says:

    I’m reading this and my face is getting more and more twisted into a grimace of disgust and horror over the whole thing. You painted a very vivid picture! The house itself is a a sad thing (reading your comments about a slum lord) bu the mother has made no efforts either so, yes, take them away…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s a real mess, isn’t it. There are no winners in this scenario 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        No, there are not. 😔

        Liked by 1 person

  5. SelmaMartin says:

    And you’re the social worker here? What a pitiful state to live in. Is this living, really? This is too sad.
    Now I’ll be thinking about that family. Sending prayers for them.
    Thanks for this moving poem of a reality that’s real somewhere.
    I bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Selma. It is appreciated, especially your empathy for the (fictitious) family.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The picture that you paint so accurately, I can see it playing out here in so many neighbourhoods.
    It is painful as well as horrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Punam, I think it’s been playing out for a very long time 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh no. That’s heartbreaking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      😦 Yes, it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your scene is vivid and so easy to imagine from your words. I give you a lot of credit for handling this line of work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Ken.

      Like

  9. Ron Rowland says:

    I love your excellent telling of this sad sad story

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Ron.

      Like

  10. wow… this is amazing. I love the complexity of it. We have sympathy for the family, but it’s not untouched with horror at the drying faeces and curdling milk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kate, thank you very much. It is a very complex dynamic. Everyone is complicit in the horror of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. sdtp33 says:

    This is brilliant Jade, a piling up of details, an all too real reality! JIM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Jim, thank you very much. It felt good to get some of it out.

      Like

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