Haunting at Home Depot
In college, my closest friend brought me a dead bird to make art with.
I put it in the middle of a brick of ice and brought it home
for Grandpa’s funeral on the $1 bus while listening to Pink Floyd.
Grandma died long ago of smoking when smoking was something
you did in restaurants. Her ghost used to hide the TV remote, but
Grandpa’s ghost had nowhere to go, with the family dispersed
like particles. Today, every hour I check the weather for air quality
and worry about breathing the PM 2.5’s stuck to my dog’s fur.
But back then, I made a fire and melted the ice until the whole bird
was burned. At one point it made a ghostly chirp. Later that day,
I got naked and crawled into a dog cage in my mom’s backyard.
I was weird and worried Grandma might still be watching, or
the neighbors would call the police. I rode the $1 bus home. $1 every
seat. Get people hooked on a cheap service, then make them pay
for their dependence, or so the theory goes. Back at school, I laid
naked in the snow and asked my closest friend to paint me white.
He used a bucket. It took him one minute. I stayed for ten or so.
It had nothing to do with race. The cop was just worried I was cold.
Like everyone, I wanted to say something before it was too late.
They told Grandma it was never too late to quit smoking. She always
laughed at them, to the end. One night after Grandpa died I went
to the woods to chip my name into a stone like a tombstone but
wrote instead “a quiet person” and called it performance art. Actually,
I could barely read it. It was only scratches, though I guess it’s still
somewhere in the woods. I returned the chisel to Home Depot.
Recently, I returned again to Home Depot for N95’s to help me not
breathe in the smoke and decided I’d pick up an orange bucket, but
I accidentally walked out without paying. Nobody seemed to care, except
my knees, which were shaking. I almost had a panic attack at the thought
of being caught stealing an orange plastic bucket. I hate Home Depot
and I hate their petro politics and I hate the way I feel like the ghost of
a tiny, frozen bird in Home Depot. I wanted to steal from Home Depot.
I wanted to get even with Home Depot, and yet I went back in to pay.
G.A. Hindy is currently passing through Minneapolis on a tandem bike with another poet and their dogs.