Only because they said
a picture is worth a thousand words
or some such fairy tale older than
Andersen or Grimm I drew

those five rooms really four
until Daddy carved a bathroom
down center borrowing a bit
from each when sewers almost

swallowed Caterpillar tractors
Daddy digging from road to house
laying dark maroon clay pipe
crowned later with porcelain loo

with a bit of bravado the house slouched
beneath mismatched siding shades
of gray paint peeled back to board
bleached by the seasons

brightened by old sea blue shingles
interspersed with leafy green
that roofed those walls we scrubbed
with Kirk’s Castile to make the oil

based enamel shine in shades of
Sinclair paint mostly peach and something
not quite dark as Dinosaur Green
disguising where stealthy termites chewed

until the day a bed’s wooden leg
dropped through the asphalt tiles
in the corner of the room collaged
with pages from yellow Geographics

and popping more tiles we looked
at the dirt heaped below and bits of studs
whittled down but stubbornly upholding
six foot ceilings sporting a single bulb

so we patched up her scars as best
we could spackled here and there
painted over paint and surrounded her
with banks of flowers kids puppies kittens

pigeons rabbits and scrabbling chickens
now and then dog packs marauding at 3 a.m.
opossums and coons adding to the camouflage
that worked wonders on a child’s mind.