THE INVENTION OF SHELTER
The firsts were all nests, from which
we threw our rocks at the sky
and pooled our resources in buckets
at our feet. During Hurricane Isabelle
of 2003, I crouched in the basement
and listened to the roof peel off its
hinges, my fists full of off-brand
corn puffs, without milk.
Gradually, we settled in to structures:
cave-like dwellings, pop-up tents.
A roof and four walls felt like
paradise if there was heat. When I
moved in, the center beam was held up
by a slouching two-by-four someone
had hammered cock-eyed into place.
Today, I am a failure of a house
wife: I drip paint into the cabinets,
speckling the food. I track mud
from room to room. The house says,
honey, I'm home but I continue to
expect it to grow wings and leave
the nest when I am old.
Harmony Button is a contributing editor at PaperTape Magazine and by day, she is the English Department Chair of the Waterford School in Utah. Her work has appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, Chicago Quarterly, Southwestern American Lit, Cobalt, Drafthorse, and Ithaca Lit.