Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

[there are some doors]; Even Cattails and Dandelions, Unbearably Common; The Sweetest Hunts

[there are some doors]; Even Cattails and Dandelions, Unbearably Common; The Sweetest Hunts
Photograph via Flickr by René Fijten

[there are some doors]

There are some doors you cannot walk through. There are unenterable rooms.







A cataract of smoke and ember, the roof
fell into the second story, then
into her parlor. The sagging porch
gave and a tall post
took part of the siding
to the summer kitchen, where
they’d found her
dressed out like a deer.

[He’d] be fine after that initial cut, after [he] turned the deer
from a dead creature into meat. It had come as a surprise
that the killing was the easy part.i





Even Cattails and Dandelions, Unbearably Common

At Fran’s Coffee Cup, Plainfield Wisconsin, the mid-1980’s, the eggs half-cooked, running yellow.

The waitress lost her husband years ago.
She thought he’d run off.

My father tells me this story over breakfast –I am tagging along while he visits homes, gets signatures, explains tax forms to widows.

The dog found treasure beyond the yard; after
the long snows and cold, winter-pink on white.

Even the cinderblock walls shed their paint. Down the street, south side, Worden’s Hardware store haunts below its layers of paint.

These Saturdays I’m still a child.

I shush my father as the waitress returns; he is warming to his story, it is the good part.

She refills our cups with coffee, the liquid sickly greyed with cream.

It was his leg bone the dog
brought her; he suicided
in the far field. Winter wheat and sedge.

These Saturdays I’m still a child.





The Sweetest Hunts

Hunts differ in flavor but the reasons are subtle. 

To steal a hunt, either go far into the wilderness where no one has been
or else find some undiscovered place under everyone’s nose.ii
Beware the thaw:
To this rabbit the thaw brought freedom from want, but also
a reckless abandonment of fear. The owl
has reminded him thoughts of spring







He loved her best,

so went looking for her, wherever he’d find her, wherever she was. She would have hated him
dragging home women, parts of women, thick in the hips, winter-white skin, varicose veins
ribbing the backs of calves. The way he flirted with the bartender, the way he flirted,

her lipsticked mouth opening and closing

At the hardware store, needing something or other every day, lingering
over the glass bottles of licorice, antifreeze, the tin sign We Make Keys!

are no substitute for caution.





i from Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Once Upon A River

ii all italics from Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac