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The Deck

I opened the door to the backyard and shouted: "We just got home from the park, and Josh pooped in his underwear!"

"OK. Well I've been out here for hours and I can't get this piece to fit!" he shouted back, pulling up his sweaty t-shirt to reveal a chest streaked with black dirt and dots of sweat, illuminated by the rusty porch light on a muggy September evening.

I slammed the door, its vibration clanging into the boards of wood he'd cut that evening, replacing rotten and warped boards that sagged each time we took a step up the stairs into our 1950s rambler in South Minneapolis.

I threw away the unsalvageable Paw Patrol underwear, ran the bath, poured the milk, said the prayers, turned out the lights. Except for the sound of Alexa reading a bedtime story, the house was finally quiet.

I wrestled my dirty, tangled hair into a bun on top of my head, pulled on pajama shorts and a t-shirt. I splashed water on my face: breathed in and out. Another day.

I wal…

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