Two Ways to It

Samantha Long


The house couldn’t care less because it didn’t have the capacity to care.  Concrete, brick, glass, lumber, vinyl—all immune, indifferent, only a two-story belief in progress at the crest of a hill that hummed hard work, hard work, hard work.  It’d say it even if it stood alone and empty, the land for miles around flattened in post-apocalyptic ruin.  The spirit of its keeper is all it ever knew, looking down on the green carpet that surrounded it, the well-placed shrubs and trees, early AM fertilizer, after work moving, sprinkler set-up.  Sweet coconut on the waxed car in the shadow of the garage.  Shoveled snow, fresh stain, new gutters, built deck, poured patio.  It was a spirit not subject to abnormal cellular division—disillusion.  Grand Central Station in the driveway was the only tip-off then, cars occasionally gushing down the roadside, to the passerby a perpetual party, not a sick circus.  But the inanimate could not change its mind no matter what, only beam back at me SUCCESS, real (estate) achievement.  A flawless form unknowing, housing horrors, a hospital bed set up in the living room, a harness to help up the stairs.  Just like me, it had no idea what could fester within ideal embodiment, what may grow behind crystal clear sights, still sprout despite every weed killer.  But unlike me, coming back every weekend with college packed into my car, it never had to wise up.  It still sings the same today, hard work, hard work, hard work, and wants me to pick up the words but I’m out of tune, I’m all out of tune. 

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240