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Image by Amauri Mejia

Home Work

Masking the windows are the dusty, re-used trash
bags in which we carried leaves to the dump last fall,
looking like skins grafted to the skin of our house,
punctured and loosely seamed, spanning its widths
of eyes. With the help of occasional grommets, you
pull yourself along, foot on sill, hand on eave, careless
of toeholds, rejecting warnings from below with
emphatic gestures of your paint-gun. Hanging from your
bare torso, your overalls are thickly spattered, and the
paint-gun’s smeared tubes cling tackily to your waist
and legs, so that you must keep brushing them away,
hazarding your balance, until you reach the next window’s
sill, where they dangle from you like ribbons from a girl’s
hair. The paint smells rank, organic, like rotting leaves, and,
standing here in the driveway, it reaches me in atomized
droplets that flatten the little hairs on my arms. Your arms
are solid green, except below your shoulder, where, when
you raise your right hand to peel away some masking,
a band of white slopes like a roof above your heart.

Max Cavitch is a writer, teacher, and photographer who lives in Philadelphia. His most recent poems and aphorisms have appeared in Brittle Star, Grand, Hooghly Review, Philosophical Salon, Politics/Letters, Raven Review, Stone of Madness, and Stone Poetry Quarterly. His new edition of Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days is just out from Oxford University Press, and his first work of creative non-fiction, Ashes: A History of Thought and Substance, is forthcoming from Punctum Books.


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