Monday, November 16, 2009

The Yard Interval

This is a new approach to the topic of home (my overall thesis topic) 

The Yard Interval


Big men came with

hammers and trucks

and pulled the garage 

down. I watched from

the upstairs window 

as they tugged at the slanting

foundation-- the rotted 

white boards and roof shingles

fell. I was too young to be sad, 

to miss the old structure-- just a slab of

concrete now where we could 

roller skate until they build the

new one. Then they tore down 

the picket fence that ran behind

the old garage. I watched

them work, the first jackhammer

I’d seen, in the late afternoon sun

blazing orange behind their shoulders.

When they pour the new foundation, 

we get to put our hand prints in 

the wet concrete with the date

and Daddy took parts of the old

wooden fence and built a play

house for us. We will make mud

pies for dinner and dry them on

the playhouse roof until they’re hard.

Bricks for building memories. 


In autumn the leaves fall

yellow and orange and brown 

and gather on the small front lawn.

Daddy wants to rake them to the

curb before it rains and they get 

all soggy and kill big spots

of grass, or the snow starts 

and they’re frozen over. But

first they are ours.

We sweep the leaves into the thin

straight outlines of a blueprint:

solid lines for walls, gaps where

there are doors, circles for chairs, 

rectangles for beds and couches, 

and at the very edge of the yard

where the sidewalk looms to the 

street, a half-moon balcony. 

A leaf house of our own design

it will last until the wind picks

up at night. And next year we

will reconstruct it. Exactly the 

same way. 


The patio furniture resides

in the screened-in back porch

its legs are thin, but heavy and

the protective ends have fallen

off so when we move the chairs

around they scratch the floor, a

map of where they’ve been. 

The cement walkway makes a

perfect driveway for our bikes and

we parallel park there between 

important errands-- (the neighbor’s 

yard is the grocery store, the garage

serves as both bank and brake-shop)

Mama put our play kitchen out for

us and every day we live several

days there, sleeping and waking 

driving and parking, shopping and

cooking, breaking and fixing,

a microcosm. We decide when

the sun goes down. 

Monday, November 2, 2009


I passed a dump truck today
a big blue one that looked strikingly like yours. 
A flagger stopped me in the road 
for an unimportant or imaginary
construction project, and I had
to sit at the feet of the enormous
truck. Watch the men in boots and
jeans and white shirts and remember
that you have been gone for eleven 
years this day.