When I was a kid,
the quaint, old colonial
down at the corner of my street
went up for sale,
the former owners having
moved on up to a better
place in the sky
and their progeny possessing
no interest in anything but profits.
The neighbor boys and I
conspired to creep in
for a peek.
We stole in off the porch
through an unlocked door
into a mud room,
to a long row of first floor rooms:
the kitchen, antiquated but sufficient,
we thought ,
in our ignorance of culinary necessity;
the dinning room, sun-lit
by a big bay window;
the living-room, commodious enough
for a small family gathering or guests.
But then, the oder permeating the place!
We could see the reaction on each others faces
to that stench,
increasing in power
the longer we inhaled,
a stale, moldy smell,
as tangible as the dust motes
floating through the house,
mixed with ode’ de’ dead mouse
rotting in the rafters beneath the roof!
A piece of baseboard having come loose,
we pulled it away from the floor
to reveal the stains,
black mould beneath the carpet…
How could they have lived there
and woe to those innocent house hunters
who, in their optimism,
ventured in to inspect!
Feeling the gore and coughs rising
from our mortified stomachs and lungs,
we raced back down the hall,
out into the fresh, fresh air.
Never again would I think to trust
the look of a house
to make it a home.