Swallowed up in the grass with the sky low and pressing at her nose she laid there and watched the house tip on the swells of grain with one eye. She thought a storm had come up but behind she could hear the work of demolition, boards pried loose and the noise was something like a storm. Pulled handcut nails sunk a hundred years before by a dropforged hammer that shattered with a final deflourish upon a honeylocust plank shaped with a handplane that still sat rusting where it was set down for the last time in the woodshop, and this honeylocust board made the threshold of the porch where they had come in from their years of work. A family of large feet, walking exactly so far then their toil was finished for the day. As if stepping just clear of the earth and it’s indefatigable maintenance.
A dry summer so far, and a faint pink clay dust sticks to the house except where hands have pried open the screen door or raised windows or leaned against a post eying the sun. By way of a street address Sleepy John’s name is marked in carbon on the porch lentel, curiously lettered as if scratched in with a wind drunk elm branch; in fact the entire house leaned towards an enormous elm to the east as if enswaled in it tremendous gravity. The ground has changed around with the growth of the elm in micro geologic tumult and its roots have punched through the foundation and shaped it pretty much to it liking and the elm is young even still. The house built in 1847 by John’s great-great-grandfather on land wagered on a bantam rooster has slowly taken the shape of a feinting rooster.
She is now thirty seven and recently married and the tips of her lace-up boots poke up among the weeds. Her left eye sags, waters and wanders. Her mother carried her to the day nine months and this is why she is called August, not for the prize rooster, and not for her dry wit. Her left eye is a direct heirloom of Sleepy John’s Strabismus, along with the rusting planes, busted hammers and August the rooster’s headstone. The only headstone on the place to poke out from the weeds, as if the only grave on the place worth noting.