Lemonade stand

Our first summer in Dallas

In mid-afternoon heat

We had a lemonade stand

 

Put up signs

Squeezed lemons

Made sugar syrup

Followed a recipe

The lemonade was just right.

 

We sat on the lawn

Sweated

Wondered where all the people were.

If a lemonade stand wouldn’t work

In this heat

With our signs by busy roads

(and free ice water!)

What hope was there?

 

We sweated.

The little boys were bright boiled pink

Collectively we acquired 40 new mosquito bites

Most of them on sweet Lenora

 

Finally two women from down the street

Walked over with their little dog

They bought lemonade with quarters

They stayed to chat

They let the little boys feed sticks to their dog.

 

They were so nice

We were able to write the whole thing off

As a success.

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Texas love song

The cockroaches

Fluttering around

The edges of our room

Sound like bats

In the dark

 

I am alone with my fears

That I will wake

To feel them nibbling

The hard skin on my palms

Biting my chest

With their mouthparts

Or resting on my face

And sucking moisture from my lips

 

You sleep on

And I try to take comfort

That with you by my side

Those chances

At least

Are reduced by half

Fast food

There are people who won’t eat here

The meat is full of hormones

They say

They want a cow

Who was slaughtered righteously

At the peak of health

In a room with a view

 

Really I think they want to pay

Not to see the lady

Mopping the floor

Who walks like the little mermaid

Every step on knives

Hunched with exhaustion

Staring in dismay

At the customers who walk

Through her freshly cleaned

Patch of floor

Question

To the father

Wearing the Defend Dallas t-shirt

The one with the white silhouette

Of a machine gun

Against a charcoal background

To the third grade girls’ soccer game

 

Where

At the midline

They pledged before God

To do their best

To respect their opponents

To improve themselves

In mind, body and spirit

 

What message

Did you hope to convey?

One day

There was a day

In September

When clouds covered

The naked

White hot

Eye of a sun

 

They were not

The dark purple bruises of cloud

That clot the sky

And portend

Thunder

And raindrops

Big as grapes

That turn streets to rivers

And parched soil

Into mud

That sticks to you

For weeks

 

The air

Was not like hot

Dog breath in your face

It didn’t cling to you

Like a cobweb

In the early morning

It was fresh

And had movement

And promise to it

 

The rain was light

Cool and mild

I think of that day

And am grateful

Trash day

The blue and gray plastic bins

Squat haphazardly on the curb

Leaning randomly

Tops pulled down like caps

Totems to excess

Still reeling

From the weekend revelry

 

The smell is terrible

Death and decay

Curing for a week

Under an unyielding September sun

 

Walk too close

And you will see cockroaches

Like scarabs

Scuttling inside

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