In the Lurch
Even the creeping myrtle
doesn’t stand a chance against
as it storms the lawn, a cluster
of dark-green lanceolate leaves.
I lean on an old birch tree,
slightly hiding, nervously
picking at the peeling bark;
skin shedding like old paper.
Mom unyielding in her habit
of silence finally wields
the hand trowel & cleaves wild
into the spreading mass.
She wrings bell-shaped flowers
from their stems & wrangles thick
twisty roots; the pipes of couch grass
rhizomes white & wormy like
tentacles of a sea creature.
Dad, sleepy-eyed stoned, steps outside
to check on the status of
mom’s mood, lights a smoke & after
a few angry drags finally
asks “What the hell are you doing?”
She doesn’t reply; she holds tight
the silver blade & thrusts it
deeper into the loamy soil.
Dad snaps the Kool mentholated
from his lips, finger-shoots it
into the neighbor’s lawn.
He looks at me, shakes his head
& goes back inside the house,
slamming the door so hard
I hear picture frames fall from
the walls, glass shattering.
Finally I join her,
digging clumsily with a spade,
we tear up the rest of the lawn,
a floral massacre—
desiccated buds & limbs,
chunks of rock & confused worms.
Afterwards a release,
we both feel it, we achieved something,
a sort of victory.
She smiles at me, or dad
who now stands right behind me.
We breathe in the last sweet breath
of perfume silent as strangers.
In a flung slumber,
his head droops
heavy like a peony.
One window: A broken pane patched with paper.
Knobby buds poke their little noses
through a pocket-holed lining.
shaped like a shell,
its lipped edge.
He heaves bent
like a broken chair.
From silvery-haired drops
strands & stretched saliva.
A flap of sporangium ropes// upright & slanting—
Conidia in the air, their triangular teeth
Through thick-walled rope, this wretch wormed
taut & slack///all criss-cross all tangle,
It rolls crop full of honey,
brushes of its legs all floury
with pollen & lips chapped
a white-peppered crumb.
A trowel its tongue //coaxes//
the clawed petals
all feathery white unfurls.
It inflates sac veined dark pink &
exudes the blistering juice
into his flowered crust.
Wait for the breathing bloat to
relieve this night hideous.