NARCISSUS IN THE SUBURBS
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.