Anarchy: Broom Clean

By Jo Phillips

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Illustration by Melissa Jane Jarram

One last day
to hang on to.
The house had to be naked,
broom clean, they said;
memories swept and bagged.

Broom clean meant
some dusty dream could
linger in the corners.

The paint peeled
four times,
the roof turned from
gray to red,
the old heap
coughed and groaned,
its tires peeled and burst,
all kept alive
by the magic
of a country garage.

Fire flared
one summer
in the sun porch.

It costs so much to put out,
yet damaged nothing.

We buried our favorite dog
out back
under a headstone,
made of a Judge’s
fallen car tag:
“Supreme Court,” it read,
“Supreme Cou,”
when we finished filing.
We’d called him Koo,
supreme he had been,
a bull of a dog; dead,
and broom clean now.

The furniture was sturdy,
acquired from
a seller of used
things people needed,
after they
weren’t wanted.

Thing we once bought
for hundreds of pounds
in deals hard as the
knots in veneer

Did our entire home
fit in that little haul-away van?

I swept the broom
clean house,
and found the
shipping bill
sailed under the door.

We left; we left dust
we called memories.
To linger in the corners.
Second hand stuff all,
brought only 50 pounds
beds that kept our
nightmares snug,
sofas our
dreams content.

Our kids dealt
their childhood,
our dog his being,
we our youth,
in that broom clean house,
so very far
from the casinos
of our future.