Low Rent by Jennifer Lagier

I grew up in a house
built as budget permitted,
one room at a time,
chicken wire poking
through crude plaster,
walls out of plumb.

We lived just outside
a jerkwater town,
near a noisy cannery,
peach grading station,
open irrigation canal.

During wind storms,
drifting Delta peat
smudged the horizon,
carried spores of Valley Fever
into our lungs.

Frost glazed bare limbs,
frozen mud puddles.
Tule fog erased
orchards, moving cars,
the highway’s dotted
white center line.

High school boys I dated
lifted our broken doors
back onto rusty hinges,
replaced rotten fenceposts.
They mistakenly assumed gratitude,
like a winning slot machine,
would pay off in free sex.

Jennifer Lagier has published thirteen books, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018). Website: jlagier.net Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferLagier/

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