The Fall of the American Middle Class as Seen from Our Location in the Woods

by Ericka Lutz

the glass on my iphone is a spiderweb of shatter

the burned out bulb in the antique floor lamp
is special order, and back-ordered

the refrigerator cheese drawer cover broke off
and there’s no replacement available online

the jet printer/scanner ink dried up but
the replacement cartridge has dried up too

and the downstairs laser printer only prints if you change
the network then unplug and replug in the printer
after you hit print and before you hit confirm and then
only every third time and
never on documents that matter

upstairs, the toilet  has sediment in the lines so
we keep the tank lid on the floor of the bedroom under
the armchair which wiggles when you sit on it

and fill a pot in the sink
and pour water into the tank to flush

and the downstairs toilet is clogged
no matter how many times Dan works it
with the drain snake, so the snake dangles out of the toilet

and will until the plumber comes in 9 days

the cats killed the upstairs palm by
shitting in the dirt and snapping the fronds so
we moved the heavy pot outside but
there’s still dirt on the wood floor

because the Dyson makes a high whine and has no suction
and the old upright Hoover sucks only through the hose
so I’ll need to get on my knees
and my knees hurt when I kneel
and when I climb the stairs

downstairs the front wall is taped and textured but not yet painted
the floor near the wall is covered with plastic sheeting and
stacked with tools

the cold water in the kitchen sink is slow though
the hot water runs fine

and raccoons ate the goldfish in the plastic pond
outside but the pump still works though the pond fills
with maple leaves and pine needles

the washing machine died again and
the serviceman is MIA so
Dan – double-masked with a jumbo jar of sanitizer –
heads out for socks and BVDs to our small town Walmart
where mask-less crowds hang in the aisles and
twice a week there’s a fist fight

while I post frantically on NextDoor for used washers
ignoring conspiracy theorists and fearful MAGAs

and Dan comes home tired and angry and scrubs his hands
and builds a fire in the woodstove because
the furnace won’t be installed until February as
it, too, is back-ordered

and it’s Happy Hour and we sip Laphroig
and Viognier

and the Smart TV won’t update so we we sit on the couch
scrolling news on my old MacBook
which only works as a browser

broken like everything is but pretending we’re not

Ericka Lutz‘s short fiction, CNF, and poetry has been published in Literary Mama, Verve, The Slate, Green Mountains Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Sideshow, and many others. She was a two-time Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and winner of the Boston Fiction Festival. The SF Chronicle called her novel, The Edge of Maybe, “an unconventional family drama and sexy satire.” She lives in the foothills of Northern California. Nancy Andrews is an artist living outside of Philadelphia. Self taught in photography, she has been perfecting her images for over 15 years. Her subjects include abstracts, images inspired by nature, and observations of the world around her. Along with photography, she spends her days teaching art to little ones, playing ukulele and romping with her two little pups.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s