in the house where the old lady died

her family moved in (the man with the gray

mustache her son?) a handsome white couple

gray and unhappy, their teenage children unhappy

at our house we could hear their children

scream and curse at them, the father drove by

never looking at us, year after year for a decade or more

in his old car, fast, or in his pickup truck

never looking our way, never saying hello

the son grew burly, thick set, said hello only

if directly spoken to, walking up or down the hill

the son got a car, and left, then it was the daughter

who calmed down as she grew up, and i only saw her

crying in the street (one time sitting in the middle of

our street, refusing to move as i drove up the hill,

weeping) but then she appeared with a boyfriend

appeared happy, with little dog and boyfriend,

then the boyfriend was in the driveway, on his cell

phone, he said hello once or twice, then she was gone,

they were all gone, driveway empty, industrial size

dumpster in the driveway for a mound of debris, first

remodeling the house had seen in decades,

but the family was gone. months later, two boys

who appeared part black, part latino came by

looking for their dog (i had not seen their little dog),

said their family was renting the place, but

they would soon be moving (back to chicago?)—

and i don’t know who lives there now—

i drove by once and the driveway was empty,

the house dark, the front door wide open—

i thought to close it, but had never known those

people, i don’t know who lives there now.


Houses and Hills

photograph by Arturo Romo-Santillano