We moved in before

the rebound, when the homes

we’re still cheap. Had our pick

of the vacants, Ghosts canvased


the neighborhood until we

gentrified the departed, I would

say our hood carelessly, none us

wanted for much, out loud. It’s so brown


here, my mother would say.

Everyone had kids, and then so

did we. We fought over who

had the greenest lawn, removed

our shirts during July swelters.


Our daughter met the twins up the block.

Then the other black girls who were

a year ahead. The neighbors would walk their

dogs, carrying blue grocery bags, stopped


to let our little electron girl pet them.

When the fall came again, we saw the couple

across the street rake their leaves, so then

we combed our lawn, and the folks next


to us followed. And God said it was

good. The woman two houses down

argued with a new boyfriend,

and someone new must have called the cops.


The lights stained our windows. I had

forgotten the last time I was threatened.

Naïve boy in my house of straw. I had

forgotten the last time I was called


something I no longer was. Was called

something I never was. Another cruiser

entered the night, and then they took

everyone out of the house. In the spring


the house was still haunted. The city

planted trees in front of most of the homes.

Ours died because we never watered it.

We didn’t know who it really belonged to.