New England Style, Move-In Ready
by André T. Demers
The floors slope
from east and west towards the center beam of the house.
Four pine wedges had been hammered between
the lateral joists and the main support to bridge the gap
as if the builders had said,
It was 1917,
and close enough was enough
who would fall
retreating under German shells at the
Second Battle of the Marne
because they were lost in the smoke
and had never learned what a straight line was.
They left nails underneath the molding
so that I could bleed, too,
as I was sweeping the vinyl floor cloths
rolling back the carpet
My heel, stung, a drop of blood
on the floor with the dust
and toast crumbs of the generations.
But we lifted the tools of pride
and kept working
as if it would ever end,
as if each coat of paint made the room larger,
as if the horseshoe,
points–down above the lintel,
was spilling our luck onto the ground.