The flowering plum, those dark red leaves
out the side window seems a bit wan these days.
So little rain; jays come looking for peanuts,
search the corner at dawn out where
the teenagers back in the sixties left their
hippy messages carved in wet cement.
My son uses chalk sticks almost too big
for tiny hands as we make pastel patterns
out on the decking. He delights me with stories
that make no sense while I try to figure out
when my mother is coming for her next visit.
This block, so oddly zoned, half historic,
half modern, soon we’ll have to move from this
beautiful old place that once housed a young boy
(like mine) who grew up to become mayor
of this funky old town. With at least one alcoholic
parent, a world of corruption, I suppose you
can’t blame him too
much for packing all the Roma
families up and sending them to Texas during
the depression. Everyone was doing similar spot
deportations even them. A hard legacy.
I stand in the library upstairs, my hands
on this sweat burnished wood framing
think about the house, what the walls
have absorbed in sunlight and shadow,
the adventure of the big move
five blocks from where it was built.
A neighborhood spectacle, disabled power lines
everyone came out to see it lifted, transported
reoriented so the bay windows that look out
on the rose mallow now face north instead of south.
Does the house mourn the church that stood
stalwart beside it all those years that recently burned?
Off the brick walk they moved as well
they planted the huge mimosa out front
and it’s siblings seeded two lots down
to be ripped out for transitional housing
going in next year where the old gas station used to be.
That toxic site, leaking and tested repeatedly
will soon house folks who once lived rough
as the immigrants who settled this land lived rough
when they arrived to freezing shacks at the bottom
of the clear cut hill behind us.
I wonder if, when he is grown, my son will pass by
in his solar powered self driving
smart car and remember with a smile
the patterns we laid down together and that
from way back Sunshine does in fact love us all.