The Green House by C.S. Carrier

where we lived after the divorce, lived for the remarriage, redivorce, for the calcification of  bones and vows, arteries and language
Nurse at the kitchen table smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, solar flare between forehead and Bible
at the end of a dead end, beside Richland Creek peppered with tires, Styrofoam, beer cans, slimy rocks, undisclosed runoff
that sat behind Hardee’s, where we walked in newly starched shirts for pre-church sausage biscuits, and that we were evicted from (it would be shuttled across town and repainted) to make space for the parking lot
in winter, Chief pouring hot water over the frozen trailer hitch the size of a basketball, and in spring, me playing baseball down the block at the Elk’s Lodge, its white-haired men congealing around a table
cardinals in the dogwoods, dogs in their pens, while we perfected the Figure Four and the Cobra Clutch on each other
with a big garden that an old man with a tractor plowed in five minutes one afternoon, this before the curses, before the crows
where we made our own groceries from a book, ate meatloaf with fried squash, canned spinach, and hushpuppies, pinto beans with ham and cornbread
loaves of white bread on top of the refrigerator, beside steel thermoses, paper towels, and Marlboro cartons
the grill smoking, ice cream maker churning on the deck, the deck Chief stormed onto, to smash the bb-gun over the railing after we shot the neighbor’s antique pick-up full of holes
a light blue Chevette and dark blue Blazer in the driveway, the Blazer with white arrows on the sides morphing into a burgundy Voyager Nurse drove us to a lightless meadow in to watch Halley’s Comet’s interminable trudge
where we watched Space Shuttle launches, and where I imagined my own space, my own matter, design, accretion, even after Challenger rained its new reefs back to Earth
under an acetylene cloud, with partially Chernobyl-ed picture window filamented with sirens, networks of eyes, specters of lineage, like that of the first white child born in Cataloochee
where we came into our bodies, privilege, beside anatomy texts and Encyclopedia Brittanicas, Stone Mountain honeymoon souvenir on the mantel under an orange elephant latch hook
a three-bedroom, one-bath ranch with fireplace, carport for a wood shop with a lathe and table saw, where Nurse and I began building a soap box car
when we had an Atari and cousins, and when we shoplifted Snickers and Hotwheels, popped wheelies and souped up our bikes with smoke screens, oil slicks, tire spikes
the crab apple tree out back, where we tried smoking again and Skoal Bandits, the maple tree out front, where Jarhead broke his arm the first time
at the edge of hip hop, for hours listening to King of Rock and the Beat Street soundtrack, rewinding, for hours listening to King of Rock and the Beat Street soundtrack, copying the words, copying the words
when I heard a little ditty about Jack and Diane, bought my first album, Van Halen’s 1984, the one with the smoking, drinking cherubim
me at the kitchen table doing homework, listening to Nurse say “shotgun,” something about a shotgun, to show Nightingale how serious he was or could be
where we lived under the promise of salt pillars, steaming fumaroles, and sulfurized horses, tongued ashes, trumpets electrifying the horizon
C.S. Carrier is the author of Mantle and After Dayton, as well as several chapbooks. He has an MFA from the Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a PhD from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He grew up in western North Carolina and currently lives in northwest Arkansas.