Issue 169, Spring 2004
Yes, the zucchinis grow heavy and wicked,
and yes, a porcupine parses the orchard
one rummy apple at a time.
But the true inventory begins when two boys
in mummy bags carve up Cassiopeia,
first with index fingers, then with closed eyes
and a buried love of their mothers, expressed as sleep.
Next the bicycle hanging on the porch pedals
backwards, a poor man’s time machine.
Which means it’s time
for the zephyr and the uncle smoking
a hand-rolled cigarette
under the eaves to trade places.
Prepare then to say hello to wind tucked
into scuffed boots, to salute a laid-off longshoreman
pushing clouds across the lake.
Meanwhile, a croquet hoop and an ax
in the peonies create
a cautionary tale by moonlight,
whose heroine huddles in the front room
trying to free Chopin from torn sheet music.
Beneath her, in the basement, her older sister urinates
on a plastic wand that turns
her misgivings the shade of her boyfriend’s car.
To the side of the house,
a salamander in a bucket holds the night
ransom. Up ahead, one peach tree, three grafts,
like agony buried in Jesus and the two thieves.
The Father who suffered him to be nailed
climbs over the fence. Wanders his overgrown
vineyard in an underfed body, to remember
lostness. Takes a swig of syrupy Coke
left out all day, coughs once, then wipes
his mouth on the neck of a sleeping mastiff,
who dreams apocalypse in greens and terrible blues.