by David Beebe


Behind the backyard in red gold afternoon,

shadows from the freeway wash against the side of

forty-year-old homes in the neighborhood,

like wings from great barn owls stretched over shingles

and satellite dishes. Planes float down to earth

in graceful stride; the sound wresting dead leaves

from naked trees, leaving jet engine echoes to mix

with rush hour traffic like seltzer water.


Natural light pulls me as I pass

from room to room.

Two windows in the room I rent open

to the street and the khaki-colored grass. The

white noise of our upper stories, our memoir of visions;

nouns and verbs led us here. Mom,

Dad, the VCR. As I’m alone in the room,

time continues without my consent, loved

ones endure without my company, lives

flicker outside my own in concatenation with fireflies:

my parents slowly separating in another state,

the girl across town who sleeps through the night

and talks to God and thinks absolutely nothing of me.


An indentation at the end of the bed hints of a ghost,

warns of high blood pressure, or driving under

the influence, or that a life not shared was

never a life at all.


Originally published in This Land: Fall 2015