NARCISSUS IN THE SUBURBS

MICHELE LEAVITT

 
 

I’m grateful for the day job that made me leave my house
each day this week before the chain saws fired up
 
                                    across the street. I can’t tolerate loud noise.
 
I only saw the men each morning, their trucks, and how

they strutted like boys around a sandbox, with tractor-on-a-trailer toys

 
                                    and new boots. I don’t like to be disturbed.

 
Each evening, branches, still green, piled in the same direction

at the curb, their sawn-off ends pointing toward the street

 
                                    like sharpened words. I don’t like change.

 
The sky is brighter without my neighbor’s trees; but still

it’s strange to see new stars, or a sunrise that’s expanded

 
                                    on its range. I’d been too tired to go out at night,

 
but now I’m grateful for the weekend rain that kept me from my street

until the sunset, when the sky opened by the axed trees filled
 
                                    with bats in flight. I opened my mailbox,
 
and stopped, caught by the hiss of the barred owl who tracks me
if I walk my dogs at night. She stood on my neighbor’s lawn

 
                                    beside a stump, then lifted off, her great wings

 
flapping once, twice, again, then landed on my neighbor’s roof

and swiveled her disk-shaped face at me, who was not
 
                                    thinking of the perch she’d lost,
 
or of how her world had changed, but only of my own misjudgments –

the limbs that I cut off, even green or living ones, the ones I thought

 
                                    grew in my way – and whether she would blame me.

 

 
 

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