A prose poem from a hike with my sons in Bear Creek Canyon in Colorado.

Caretaker’s House

They call it creepy and want to leave. But first they ask me to knock on the front door of the cottage painted in government tanyellow, capped with a roof of corrugated brown.

Two satellite dishes big and small stand guard, untethered from hundreds of invisible relationships: sports packages, politics, unreal sexcapades and reruns of Sábado Gigante.

A multi-colored dog house squats idle among weeds that grow into a rock wall charged with holding the forested mountain side at bay, a rock wall consumed by deceivingly gentle moss. Decay is coming. And it’s here.

The shed with its window panes broken, letting rain and squirrels and curious gawkings pass through. The siding with its bleeds of nail rust, flecks and peeling paint.

The fence that separates the yard from a gravel trailhead where bike racks hang off bumpers by day and discarded condoms meant to be found paint pictures of what happens when day has gone, when darkness lures the prowl of mountain lions and the hungers of youth.

They ask me to knock on the door, the one with a white sticker centered above it, marked by silhouettes of a man and a woman imprisoned by a red circle and a red slash, all scratched with intention. Zigzags. The work of mild-mannered vandals or perhaps …

And I do, I knock with a quick succession of thinly veiled knuckles against the frame of the tanyellow screen door. And the instant, the splittest of instants, the knuckles still something of me passes through to the other side, imagining echoes being absorbed by the dust-swallowed upholstery of an easy chair, one set at an angle in the corner of the front room, pointed at a TV that no longer is. This room, a bland box built slightly askew and perfectly okay for government walls washed white. 

From somewhere behind my eyes I imagine the darkness that shields ghosts and the silt of soured coffee in a stainless steel carafe, its plug dangling over the edge of the porcelain sink, a carafe that reflects the kitchen’s dim surrender.

They ask and I knock. And in the silence that returns, my mind whispers: This is creepy and I want to leave.


Other projects I have in the works: Humanitou conversationsportraits of naturepoetry of nature and writing yoga. I also am a content partner of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and PeakRadar.com. #showyourwork

unsplash-logoBrendon Thompson