Jimmy Santiago Baca
Ix. Part 6 - Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca
We bought a small house
along the river, in Southside barrio.
A shack I pried boards from the front door to get in-
half-acre of land in the back
heaped with decades of scrap-rusted wire fencing, creosote
railroad ties, tumbleweeds, a mountain of decaying
harvest never picked, weaving itself
slowly into the dirt again.
I gutted the plaster frame house,
nailed, puttied, roofed, plumbed,
poured cement, sheet-rocked, tiled, carpeted,
piled, burned, cleaned, cemented, installed,
washed and painted,
trimmed, pruned, shoveled, raked,
sawed, hammered, measured, stuccoed,
calloused handed, muscle-firmed, sleek hard bodied,
our small house rose
from a charred, faded gravemarker,
a weather-rotted roost
for junkies and vagrants,
wind, rain, and sun splintered
jagged stories of storms on,
this plaster wood tablet,
our own version of love, family and power.
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