The Fastidious Housepainter

by Mercedes Lawry

House in the country, photo by Nathan Anderson
Photo by Nathan Anderson@Unsplash

The fastidious housepainter tried to hear the birds, to listen and translate, to understand and separate the wide movements from the details. He saw the grid and moved accordingly. The sky was another world only to be considered when thumped with grey clouds. If a harsh wind began, he would calmly disentangle. He hoped never to displace, each shutter a refuge, the small tendrils of rot amended. The fastidious housepainter was methodical in execution and strategy, ascending and descending , never out of balance, never opening his heart to risk. Flickers tapped at the chimney oblivious of the green slowly covering the beige, rising seas and a clog of summer smoke. Everything was urgent but invisible. The hours folded at a steady pace. The fastidious housepainter watched a paper wasp struggling near a window and when it flew off, began again with measured brushstrokes as an early moon emerged, a small, milky globe.

Mercedes Lawry

Mercedes Lawry has published short fiction in several journals including, Gravel, Cleaver, Garbanzo,and Blotterature and was a semi-finalist in The Best Small Fictions 2016. She’s published poetry in journals such as Poetry, Nimrod, & Prairie Schoonerand has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize several times. She’s published three poetry chapbooks as well as stories and poems for children. Her collection, Vestiges, was published in 2022. Her collection Small Measures will be published in 2024.



2023-Dec-07 18:25

Thank you, Mercedes. I love the calming and methodical approach of the housepainter who to me stands in for a larger view of living our life.