It’s the last house
before you pass the city limit sign,
on the opposite side from the water tower
and the same side as the grain elevators,
giant circular slabs of weathered concrete
marking the crow’s distance
between prairie towns with other houses like this.
Furrows of paint mark the grain
of pine planks and peel from the eaves,
last year’s leaves rot in the gutters
and the vinyl shutters have faded
into some color between green and blue.
In what was once a gravel driveway,
a minivan sits, covered with dust
and racked with rust around the edges
of wheel wells and the space beneath
the sliding door.
Between the drive and the front porch,
several plastic toys fade in the sun and grass.
Just past the edge of the mowing,
a big blue trampoline stands in the shade
of a huge oak tree.
Weeds and orchard grass grow up
through the spaces of black line lacing the edge
to the metal frame.
Twenty feet away,
from the lowest, largest branch,
an old tire hangs down,
crabgrass covering the old paths
of small feet dragging the ground beneath.
The rope is faded but unfrayed,
still strong enough to carry the weight
of children on the couch,
eyes riveted to high-def pixels
while their parents smoke in the kitchen,
oblivious to how much that has held their lives
will never catch the eyes of their children.