1:  A New Development 

If anything, the afternoon is slanted.
The tree-work filtering ultraviolet rays ambers 
the houses. Ivy along the base, rustling skirts,
pantyhose. Groundcover. Don’t uncover

yourself one stitch. Girls barefoot in
black leotards, their bodies plastic,
bendable as they perform in the yard. Stutter 
of a lawnmower kicking up sticks.

Snapdragons with their cheeks
caved in. If anything is shrieking, it’s 
the blue-jays. Blood-copper ripeness
of overturned dirt. The back door is open—

2:  Anatomy of a House

Insulation is the fat, 
which is why the system 
retains its heat and

stabilizes. The floor wooden and 
even, the skin the wallpaper,
the applied layers of neutral

paint. Cellular structure,
layout, the bedroom
brainpan. Compartments for all 

the fragile objects. The heart 
the kitchen—polished 
granite counters, stainless 

steel fixtures. Two-by-fours
for support. Inner guts: copper 
wires, fuses, flushable 

pipes. The furnace’s belly
rumbles. A house exhales
its own indoor weather, 

circulation, the flow of 
dependent organisms. Room 
to grow, room for living. 

3:  The Setup

English Tudor was the style, Colonial
the preferred one. Victorian the one to
envy, the staircase spilling into a grand

foyer entrance. On streets named with 
bias—Ottekee, Edinburgh, Oxford, Forest 
View.  A house is as good as the woman 

who keeps it. Market value, neighborhood 
watch. Think prepackaged, some
assembly required. As in the cosmetics

of it—curb appeal. Shaker shingles, brass
knocker, decorative seasonal flags. Wealth 
by number of garage doors, by number of kids

you can accommodate. Spacious vanity. 
Six-paneled doors for privacy, double-paned
windows for a view—selective, staying.

4:  Pre-Spring in the Affluent Neighborhood

The sun shines down equally on the houses, 
shadows fastened to tree-limbs. The streets 
are quiet, almost vacant. A father yawns as he 
pushes his daughter along on a bike, pink and 

purple streamers, the little hearts patched on her 
knees go up and down with such concentration. 
She seems to be the only thing that moves. Shades 
are drawn. It is winter still, everything is closed

up, the opening comes on so slowly.
Even the earth movers have stopped digging
out another foundation. The hole is nothing 
like a deep grave, instead it will be filled 

with concrete, boards, and bricks to house
some other family and their truckload of things.
Child, don’t stop now, keep pedaling. There is
so much, and if you turn your head, there is much more.
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