The man in the tired car trolling house to house

already knows what the tall, slatted fences conceal.

Quiet, children at school, the cramped backyards hold

swing sets with plastic slides, colorful kick balls,

overturned tricycles, hula hoops, a dog, head between paws.

Realtors writing Sunday classifieds call these places

starter homes, peaches, cuties, meaning small, old,

needing paint, fixing up, asking for grass, having stone porches

with balustrades where young couples drink and argue,

where couples before flung words back and forth

through black screens they ached to recover but never could.

What the rooflines lack the trees provide:  leaves, lots of leaves,

of all sizes, portfolios and illuminations, leaves that flutter, that spin,

that whisper, that cool night, that lull, that settle into peace.

The man in the broken down car drives often under aged, leafy trees

before cumulous have risen, savoring each lawn, smiling,

swallowing back the bright sinusitis of his grief, while above,

all about him, limb from limb, young squirrels leap.


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