Back to Issue Two.

House Hunting, January 2009



for Sandy Johnston


We’re told this one’s bank owned. 
The heat having been off for months, 
we watch our breath drift through 
the vacant rooms. My wife clutches 

the loose banister as it shudders 
beneath her hands. We see potential, 
the rooms big enough for our stuff, 
our weight. The paint peels and drips 

off the walls, as if shredded by water. 
I kick through debris, sorting out 
the house’s past life, a pile of balloons 
in a child’s room, deflated by age, 

red and white shriveled in the corner, 
once wishing some sick girl well. 
But there’s writing on these walls, 
the primitive blue cursive of crayons: 

So long house, we love you, and 
we’ll miss you. God knows we’ve seen 
much worse, fist-sized holes peppering 
drywall like gunshots, caving ceilings. 

Bathrooms ruined by backed-up 
sewer systems. A homeless woman 
camped out in a basement, a tattered tarp 
for a sleeping bag. Still, this blue scrawl 

follows us like a nightmare. This 
life laid out in blue. Blue as the wind 
hurled by our city’s river. I can work, 
my wife and I know it. We can cover 

this mortgage, cover our hours with 
this roof. Even I can repair the pipes, 
the banisters, the creaking stairwell. 
I don’t know how to paint this room.



Anthony Frame is an exterminator who lives in Toledo, OH with his wife and their spoiled cat. His poems have been published in or are forthcoming from Third Coast, Versal, Mobius, Connecticut River Review and New Plains Review, among others. His first chapbook, Paper Guillotines, was recently released by Imaginary Friend Press. He is also co-editor of the online journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry. You can find out more at