October’s done its mischief here already. As has the cat, from the looks of the vole spinning like a dervish on the walk near my back door.
A missing foot? A wound? Anything but ecstasy I can believe. When I box it for transport to the neighbor’s pines, its body thumps the cardboard. Let’s think of this as a primer. My Own Backyard. It’s where I’m told I should begin.
And it’s greedy for attention. Always the chickadees; sometimes the finches. I arrange the errant hose in the tidy coils of my mind.
The lawn chair on its side will gather snow if it’s left to me. I picture myself going out with the sole purpose of bringing that chair in. I should begin in my own backyard
where the plumbing of the recently departed boiler flails. There’s no shame in devotion to my little nation of stinks and groans,
this compost pile feeding skunks— the hegemony of the hedge on one side, the clear boundary of my refusal to mow on the other.
I could die here, so convenient a plot. I could wave my apron like a flag. Come home! Come home! Leave others to their yards and bones. There’s no horror in matched dogs walking you evenings
like a philosophy. Bury me by the quid pro quo of the quince, the shed’s Don’t ask me shrug.
Paula Closson Buck‘s The Acquiescent Villa was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1998. Recent poems have appeared in Shenandoah, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Denver Quarterly. She teaches at Bucknell University and is editor of West Branch.(10/2005)