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