Blue House

by Eileen McCluskey

We watch Poppy Sweet’s Cadillac purr down Blossom Street, stop in front of the blue house next door. Royalville’s real estate broker minces out, chats up the landscape painter and her husband who ties fly-fishing lures, while ushering them up the concrete steps. They love the river roaring parallel to the lumpy road, love the solitude grown out of dying sawmills, furniture makers, American Woolen Company. Long ago, Poppy tells them, those factories polluted the Millers River, but now their mossy foundations dissolve slowly in thick woods, and beavers work the river with orange teeth and leathery tails. We run out to say hello, hoping for nice neighbors -- not like those Buckmans, good riddance, who tossed tires into the Millers, planted car bombs on each other’s rusty wrecks, molested teenage girls. Today the blue house keeps its mouth shut and, hoping to distract Poppy’s clients from noticing rot in the foundation, we lure the couple back into the sun, point out ice formations on the Millers where big rocks hold somehow onto flying water until thin arcs freeze into wings.


Eileen McCluskey writes with an upward slant, loves her daughter and tries not to miss her too badly (off at college). She also loves her dog and poetry readings. Eileen's works have been published in The Boston Globe, Ibbetson Street, Main Street Rag, and other publications. Her first book of poetry is Topless.