The women are upstairs
conspiring. The old man
is down, counting bills in
his wallet. I'm in between,
aware the house around us is
falling. All that's held it up
the last few years were daughters,
sisters, and duct tape. Everything's
about to give. The shaded porch
I sit on spins around to sun.
There is no air-conditioning here.
I'll have to use the cooler basement
soon. The roof leaks undermine
the plaster walls. They crack and
flake. Rain radiates along
the studs. Wallpaper's stained in
yellow splotches. He can't see
the filth, and when we tell him,
he refuses help-they're blacks, you
know. The chair he sits on at table
cakes with food between his legs.
Two buttons on his shirt are left
unfastened. Brothers? They're no help.
Complainers, obstructers possibly.
The city listed 13 violations
of its building code. How much
will someone pay for this place? Will
it sell? What option will he pick
for his remaining days. I'm aging,
fat, aware my own demise
draws near, and moving in with us
can be the old man's bitter choice.

Bill Vernon

If you've any comments on his poem, Bill Vernon would be pleased to hear from you.