Letter to you, brave (or stupid) souls who decide to stay in the house during a remodel

IMG_1518-2We are in the midst of it. Yes, you guessed it. Remodel hell. Smack dab in the glorious middle of gutted bathrooms and kitchen. Brownish red saltillo tiles from the 1980s, carpet as old as dirt and oak cabinets (you know which ones I’m talking about, also from the 1980s) pulled up, ripped apart and discarded. Something else has emerged…the inevitable and unavoidable dust of years collected under tile and carpet, mixed in with newer particles that spray from tile and rotating saws. And here I am, among the cacophony of hammering, drilling, and sawing, I find myself crumbling to dust. I can’t breathe, hear or think clearly. I need to escape. And so, I leave. While going for a three mile walk around the lake, my headphones blast “Bodysnatchers” by Radiohead and I sing along with Thom Yorke…

“I do not understand what it is I’ve done wrong. Full of holes, check for pulse, blink your eyes. One for yes, two for no. I have no idea what I am talking about, I am trapped in this body and can’t get out”

Lo and behold, while I walk and wail, I pen a new poem in my head, inspired by Radiohead and construction dust. Here it is…

thin plastic sheets

only 16 steps away,
across the threshold
before my sneakers
hit pavement.
to run, run
past this dust.
this dusty dust.
suffocating my pores,
its under my skin, in my hair,
in my brain,
stifling nerve pathways.
plates and wine glasses
trapped under thin plastic sheets,
they cry dusty tears.
I, too, drown under this invisible film,
like an unborn duckling trying to break
through
its egg membrane.
pushing, pushing,
yearning, yearning,
wistful for a light
at the end of this
dusty dusty tunnel.

— Yen Graney

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