Cimarron Review
Home | Current Issue | Back Issues | Submit | Subscribe | News | Contact Us | Links | Masthead


Real Estate

Bobby C. Rogers

After we closed on the house, I hurried to get it painted, late into the nights
for as long as I could keep going, tape and mud, cut in and roll. The rooms
were as big as they would ever be, emptied of furniture, the house open, unresolved.
Now we had to live here. I broke free the sashes, cross ventilation exchanging
paint fumes for city air. It was so quiet with the central unit shut down that I could hear
the erasable sounds the storm windows usually wouldn’t admit, urban murmurings
more peaceful than I had expected, now and then a single sound emerging: somewhere
a car door slam and a kind of laughter, a freight train laboring on the L&N tracks
as mournful in town as it had ever sounded in the country, ambulances running
every red light on Poplar Avenue all the way to the Med, and then the close whisper
of my three-inch brush drawing a line along the molding’s reveal, feathering it
down the wall in the echoing rooms we called our own. But ownership is the last lie
we tell ourselves—nothing goes unshared. Each eighth-of-an-acre parcel has belonged
to someone else and will again before long. The only thing approaching possession
is in the careful repairs we might make, every surface prepped and perfect, two coats
of ceiling white, eggshell and semi-gloss for the walls and trim, clear poly curing
on the oak floors, bleach searing the grout of the bathroom tiles, ammonia to polish
the lights of the old chandelier. Here in the heart of the city where nothing is new
we must make it so. On the last night before move-in I get to the closets. 220-grit paper
in a palm sander to take off just a little of the cedar, and there it is, like a liquor’s bouquet,
a whisper of sharp cedar scent let loose from compartments in the wood’s red grain.


Copyright © Bobby C. Rogers

Cimarron Review
205 Morrill Hall
English Department
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK  74078