Some streets curve. Not all the streets go through.
From a nearby stadium sounds
of a cheering crowd. You were going to teach;
I was going to be a house husband
and write. The man living with his mother
half a block away drank during
the day in a pickup he’d park by our house
while we were at work. He’d throw empties
underneath our oleander hedge. Everything
seems present and past at the same time.
past tense like, Remember how nights the city lights
slowed like embers? Present like, I wonder
if water still drips into the fireplace
when it rains. Summers neighbors we never saw
drained their swimming pool into the street.
Parrots made a racket in the palms.
Exotic trees stained the asphalt
jacaranda purple, olive black.
After wind storms the litter of seeds, seedpods,
fronds. Jehovah’s Witnesses, briefcases in hand,
at the front door. A family
of raccoons knocking over trash cans,
a clatter like they were playing.
A Ford Mustang waiting to be restored.
Coyotes trotting down the middle
of the road, dazed, as if they’d expected
to find themselves somewhere else.
Stairs that once lead to a hotel entrance
leading nowhere, just foundations remaining.
Low-hanging phone lines, insulation drooping,
blue sky tangled in wires.
Roosters, peacocks in people’s yards.
Police helicopters. Once or twice gunfire
that seemed a safe distance away.
On clear days the ocean
a distant glint of sunlight through the trees.
Copyright © Brian Satrom
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.