Generations later pastors still call on decorum
to undo lavishly Vatican wallpaper zoomed out of focus.
How nice it would be to fold the coasts together
so the spare interior might grow to the water and light
breaking the strong silent types side by side Hollywood housewives,
just as Makahs on the northern tip of the Olympics
after 70 years of being endangered try their harpoons
at the latest swell of whales—
remembering how to skin a whale is not easy:
what to do with all the blubber on the beach?
Make a Makäh eau de cologne?
The toddlers enjoy training wheels
and the gathering sound effects of red bicycles
scraping the sides of double-parked Mercedes.
Yet here I am seeking caffeine sin extras, a modest tall Americano for here,
the cheapest item off the menu, I must want room for cream then?
as if I were my great grandfather, an immigrant miner
too old to shovel but sturdy enough to man the dusty elevator shaft.
Where is your accent? I say, from yon sticks, where everyone builds
along roads they just invent as they go along
to the peril of those walking their horses and salting roses to ward off the deer.
Sometimes roads will accidentally bump into one another
and if there’s no room for proper cul-de-sacs
or they are broken through with the right codes and lawyers
you end up with thoroughfares, and corners along crossing paths
where others apply to change the zoning to cash in on a gasoline stand or grocer.
But, I’m really from even further out, forest fast disappearing
like the spotted owl looking in through the out door, unruffling itself
and spreading its wings to fly back from the horizon.
Here in Old Town there are few trees.
The mills took the good ones long ago
during trade in rubella blankets clearing the land of locals
and planting others around the new boarders working literally for nickels.
The trees here had rings wide enough to remember more than anyone living
and making the newbies nervous, coming from the burbs,
here to vie for views of the bay, more reasons for pruning more
to finally begin to relax, circling on riding mowers with self-mulchers,
scattering whatever grows back, trimming the edges
keeping things from shifting
so we look forward to a bright day flowering.
(Appeared in Mannequin Envy)