My House-My Place
February 5th: I walk into my place. The one that I trust has been lying
to me. Dinner is burning away in the oven. He is lounging on his sofa
enjoying a bowl of Goodness knows what.
Friday: My Friends and I clean everything. Cobwebs thick with grease
and dust–even the poor spider is mummified in a cocktail of wood
smoke and greasy meals.
Eight truckloads of junk later…
The roof and tarps fall in and blow playfully towards the ocean; free as
a ship loose from its moorings.
The ceilings in the bedrooms crumble. I am upset. I just mopped those
floors. Now it holds a memory of the ceiling.
The wiring begins to pop. The breakers groan. The furnace comes to
life at 2:00 in the silly morning. I watch the sparks fly; as shooting
stars in the grey morning light.
By now my Friends are running for cover. Smiles replaced with
The shed door falls off. Someone forgot to prop it up with the stump.
The fridge holds a promise of neglected leftovers. “Sniff it! If it
smells good, eat it.”
No fresh yummy cookies.
No Roast Beast on Sunday.
Oven won’t work now.
Seven people worked on the hot water tank. It worked for three days.
Monday the main pipes cracked in the cold. It was like a sauna.
“I am so cold! Do you think more blankets around the doors and
windows might help?”
(I am asking my Brother)
“No! Get some leftover Tribal Campaign signs-plywood. Nail ‘em up.
Then you can use your Rez curtains on your bed.” So he laughs….
“What about the ceilings? It’s all messy on the floor.”
(I am asking again)
“Sweep it up! Throw it in the woodstove. You said you were cold.” And
he laughs harder.
And…”Do you think I should try to stay here?”
“Why? Waiting for the other door to fall?”
Everyone laughs now.
Where’s my motel key?
Cindy Lee Claplanhoo is part of an Indian writing group in Port Angeles called “Blood Quantum.” She is from the Makah Reservation, located at the beginning of the United States–Neah Bay. Her given name is Tia–from her Aunt Tan’te. It is Spanish and yes–she is Aunty to fifty-six nieces and nephews and has four beautiful grandbabies too. Cindy works at Makah Forestry and volunteers at MCRC–“The Museum.” Her project preserving Coastal Native news articles from 1899 to the Present Day inspires her poetry and artwork. “Wait for me, Grandpa. I am following in your Footsteps.”