Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton

the termites had deboned the thing
it was clean there was no saving it
in one bedroom a dresser with blue drawers
its peg-legs rested on pure membrane
a girl just stood in her underwear
ran the tips of her fingers over her ribs
thought greyhound no one knew no explaining
why she didn’t fall through the floor
the kids were drinking beer in the yard
the tetherball rope caught one girl’s throat
her mother’s face obscured
behind the porch screen the mesquite shadow
no one could make her out
her feet rested on hot sashes of dust
the sounds on the television were far away
as that big caliche mound looked lake a waving man
the president got shot
the boards stayed together for another three days
it was a matter of apathy or swelling
or everyone was too hot to move

Karyna McGlynn, “Before Anything Happened the House Had No Skeleton” from I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl. Copyright © 2009 by Karyna McGlynn. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc.
Source: I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande Books, 2009)