Chalk Marks on the Front Walk
Calendula by the curb an empty watering can
As I pull him across the lawn, the toddler
holds on to one side of his wagon
cups his balls with the other hand
Autumn wren on a telephone wire. A sliver
less of each day. What’s next?
From a bird by the hydrant, 3 trills, the last 1 clipped.
And Suddenly It’s the First of the Month
you mail the rent check,
watch jasmine blossoms fall from the bush
magnolias open like saucers from fine porcelain place settings.
How much longer will we decide to love one another?
An ex once told me if I ever left him for another man
he would wish us the best, then take everything
in our motherfucking house
—and torch it.
Take this view of the rose of Sharon at the far end of the porch
Take this crumpled paper napkin, this cork.
How much can any of us carry?
Just yesterday, a great blue heron alighted on the cottonwood
at the end of Jim’s yard,
right near Boggy Creek, right in the middle of our barbecue,
big wings hovering on the smallest of branches.
And all of us, even the children, turned from the fire to watch it.
First day of sun after many without, a robin pulses on a branch
one among many in this second-story thicket, window screens
taking on gold, an inheritance, left-over from another season, red in the branches
of the not-quite dead.
I drive to the credit union, towards the late afternoon
skyline, dust and ozone, scrap-metal sky,
towards the Taquería Chupacabras, Los Billares Sandía, Lavandería Azul,
day workers pace the parking lot of the vacant car dealership.
A slave, it was explained to me, was worth more to a master
in the years before the Civil War than a freedman in the Jim Crow years
—thus, the prevalence of lynching.
Texas cities get a little lonely at their edges:
past Motel 19, Methodist hospital’s blue neon crucifix, refineries, Christ
of the Nations Inter-faith Ministries. Dusk pales
at its hemline.
Copper light scores the westside of my chokeberry tree;
buzz over live oaks, ignorant to how much weight these branches might hold.