“Tyvek House” by Ruth Z. Deming


(Tyvek is an insulation material applied to the interior of buildings before application of the final material such as wood or stone or siding.)

 

 

Take this old house by the side of the road.
Walk past its leaf-filled ditch and muddy garden.
Rip out its walls and doorways.
Stay there, don’t move.
Walk among the heaps of plasterboard,
the piles of rubble still unswept.
Let it sear you, rush like water through you,
and bring you no peace.

 

Don’t come and fetch me,
I’ll stay here among the ruins.
Quiet, dream-filled,
lonesome as a stairwell,
ringing like a bell,
one of a kind,
the house where I live.

 

Did you mark the days when they
hammered the outer boards
across the falling rot of splintered wood?
Did you see how frisky they were,
those laugh-aloud fun-finding fellows
stationed so effortlessly
on tall hinged ladders?
Three of them I counted, workmen,
bouncing words from roof to roof,
or were they manly jokes,
nails echoing clang clang
as they went in,
thick-soled boots snug on tall rungs.

 

How we couldn’t help but laugh
the day the letters appeared – TYVEK -
blue, dark as mountains,
- TYVEK -
you’d know those letters anywhere –
ponytailed Y,
take-me-along K pointing off,
off in the distance at some lonesome star.
How we rejoiced and continue to rejoice
at the coming of the words.

 

Leave it to us to notice from our
one unstained window
the predicament of the motorists
and the ditch-leaping joggers passing by,

 

each one waiting,
querying among themselves,
when will it be finished?
When will the Tyvek be covered up for good?

 

Didn’t we fool them?
Didn’t we cause consternation?
We simply couldn’t do it.

 

We let the Tyvek stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Z. Deming has had her poetry published in literary journals including Metazen, Mad Swirl, River Poets, and Eunoia Review. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.