What of the lives lived in valley,
in canyon's shadow,
and endless doubt? Will it rain?
What if I doubt it?
What of the traveling salesmen, door-to-door.
The wholly subjective buttoning
of rayon-blend suit coats over cheap
dress shirts. What difference
in the distance between a red farmhouse,
its weathered-gray equipment shed?
Between the tamed mare and the mustang colt?
One historic assayer's office
and the bakery made from a bank?
Multi-family complex, and the highway, steaming
with new asphalt left to cure?
One more block, we weary bargainers say.
One more pair
of steel kitchen knives, another bottle of tincture.
Another matched trio of red
One more bit of the Self
and I'll head home.
And never mind where the money comes from, tonight.
It's only a few dollars for cream honey, for day lilies
to brighten the windowsill.
Every tree on this block is swathed at its base
Once a cacophany, cicadas now dried, brown.
Detritus of some May-pole too withered to dance.
I shall cover the rent for this life
What audacity we practice.
Don't tell me what to do, he said once.
I won't, I muttered.
Just don't leave me.