Sunday, December 21, 2008


My mind in a pause – a reflection of my eyes
ripples between twirled ice, forced around
in circles by my drinking straw as ice taps,
clanks against a dented glass half full.

I stare at building lights and streetlights
through an A-shaped window, reflections
of Nopalito's interior superimposed
on nighttime's world. Cars pass on Missouri
as phantoms liquefy into the road.
Ceiling light transposes itself, centered
on a streetlight. A wall near the cash register,
with a plant and chili ristra, emerges, growing
out of parked cars. A wall vent floats
on a black sky. Skewed coffee cups
and red glasses dance over commercial coffee
makers and soda machines as my waiter's reflection
circulates like fan blade shadows around tables
and chairs while he serves his customers.

Light and dark shapes, transparent, glowing, shattered,
geometric, layered, like my thoughts broken or scattered
by other thoughts, transposed over recognizable images,
create chiaroscuro illusions, the way dreams do
or don't make sense because pieces are there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Tickets

I appealed to him dressed like a lady –
in skirt, blouse, curly perm.

A New Orleans local chauffeured
me around town, rattled on
about his life. He bought tickets for us
to hear Clifton Chenier, great Zydeco player.
Car backfired over a loud muffler.
Fire ignited under the hood. I bailed.

He muttered something about driving
his car home. Handed me the tickets.
I stood on the curb laughing.

Watched him zoom down the road,
fire smoldered upward
from cracks under the hood.
Smoke billowed out the back end.

Enjoyed myself listening to Clifton Chenier
at the downtown night club. Shook my buns
that night with two handsome tourist guys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A poem I read today
about a lateral lattice forging form
with the sun's shadows, reminds
me of living on Betty Circle.

My stepfather grew green and purple
seeded grapes on a white trellis
along a cinder-brick wall – terraces
separated by a chain-linked fence.

Diamond shadows shaped
by the sun, beamed through the fence,
made shade on the small garden
by the grapes and shadows on the wall
between the trellis's empty spaces,
leaves, and multitude of succulence.

I picked whole clusters, ate them unwashed
in the back yard until my belly ached.
Each bite a sweet juicy burst.
I didn't mind the seed's slight bitterness.


Remember roller-skating in El Paso,
two or three times every week?
Envious of local, competition skaters –
their speed and grace, strength, endurance,
I wanted to glide like them.

Did well to skate without falling,
cross one foot over the other
turning corners on the wooden rink floor.

Enjoyed playing games on skates.
"Put your left foot in, put your left foot out ...
put your left foot in and shake it all about ..."

My mother paid for lessons she could not afford.
I learned to balance, to push with one foot,
roll along the figure eight line, forward and backward.

I learned to Tango.

She remarried,
wwwwwwe moved to Las Cruces,
wwwwwwwwwwthat was the end of that.

Mayonnaise In My Hair

Ridiculous — that idea
about nourishing dry hair
with mayonnaise to help split ends.

Massaged it through my hair —
oily, slippery, lemony mayonnaise.
Let it sit — took forever to wash out.

Slipped, sliding in the bathtub,
sludgy as an oil slick.
Almost fell in the shower.

Legs flew haphazard.
Swoop! Swoop! Swoop!
Screaming — hysterical laughter.

Held onto soap holder,
faucet and handles for stability.
Hot water pelted my body.

Could have sprained an ankle,
busted a knee, hurt
my back, cracked my head.

Never do that again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Waving Curtains

First time to move away from home.
Not a good living arrangement,
but some place to stay.
A singlewide mobile home.
Wagon Wheel Trailer Park.
Doña Ana road.

Quiet, sitting in a corner chair,
in the living room
by a window,
double pane slid upward.
Pleasant, cool breeze blowing
through the screen,
blowing a thin, lacy white curtain
in front of my face.

In a void, a trance,
allowing the curtains to wave
over my head,
tickle my ears, neck and shoulders.
I think this happened
before -- déjà vu.

The wind, carrying me
through a mysterious dimension.
I waver between
worth and worthlessness.
Curtains stop waving,
snap out of the spell.
Why do these things happen
when I am alone?

Calling My Name

Flashed on a memory
xxxxx in my youth.
Too young to understand,
xxxxx or be aware of
things uncommon.

xxxxx A building.
A school? A public place?
I recall
a long flight of stairs.

xxxxx Alone, climbing
toward the top.
xxxxx Late for a class?
xxxxx Felt someone peck
xxxxx on my shoulder,
xxxxx calling my name.
Was it an angel's attempt
to prevent my going there?
xxxxx I turned around
xxxxx but nobody there.
Nobody there.

Green Stick

Haven't seen one in years.
Hey, preying mantis, how
did you get in? Get down
from my kitchen ceiling.
Quick! Think--
before he scorches himself
on that light bulb.

Shhhhhhh! Screeching ladder --
you'll wake the neighbors.
Open this wide-mouthed jar.
Schroop, schroop, schroop!
Ouch! Hit my knee on the ladder.

C'mon, Greenie!
Schroop, schroop, schroop!
Carry you across the parking lot.
Mmmmm! Kind of nippy.
Wish I had put on a jacket.

Schroop, schroop, schroop!
Dumping you onto the dirt.
Get out of there, sticky thing!
Shake, shake, shake!
There! You're not hurt.
Crawl up that post
to your light God.
Now I can go to bed!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Drifting Through A Fog

(On suffering writer's block)

A fog drifts through the gaps of my mind,
haze as a mist hangs between hills and valleys--
low floating clouds on a humid day.

Thoughts harbor in silence, suspend,
then chatter away about nothing,
about everything at once.

Cranial grayness filters the light, hides the crannies,
glides through a part of me that reflects
how my brain got stuck, dangled in midair.

I sit here dazed with nothing to write,
wondering where the next word comes from.
Must I cull utterance from my next-door
neighbor's cigarette smoke? So be it.

I'd rather grasp them from coolness
of my living room air conditioner. Maybe
that will blow away and free me from congestion.

Monday, September 8, 2008


it is when you lose dignity –
that voice from above
or inside you
becomes relevant
and you know its sincerity
a credence above self-doubt
strengthening allegiance to beliefs
pledging to make things better
and it gets better
if you commit to it
like an oath to others
plus support they give you
as you trust them to do
that helps regain self-confidence
your God-self
an internal faith
that keeps you going

Monday, July 28, 2008


I am not the same person
as ten years ago, five years ago.
I am still changing.

I made myself
an exposé of viewpoints,
opinions, priorities
because of different conditions,
tastes, level of thinking.

Growing older did that --
current politics and news, too --
where I'm compelled
to think outside
mainstream thought
thanks to those who educate
about those who suppress,
spread lies.

I roam and wander
through debris,
through mountains of issues
and tons of things that matter,
to find my merits
by virtue of those
who influence me --
through layers of life
still shaping me,
leads me to a perspective,
of what is yet to come.
Though I may be in fear,
I know I can overcome it,
I know I can change
my growth, my fire, desire, hope.
Someone once told me
"You haven't changed a bit."
Yes I have -- significantly.

Subject Lines

Spammers will do anything
as I've found on my computer,
depositing obnoxious email –
from misspellings to hilarious titles.
What makes them think
I will click on their spam?

Subject lines about "Viagra" – delete
"The Best Stock Picks" – delete
"Melting Away Fat Easily" – delete.

"Study Hall Dumpy." Wait a minute –
what on earth do they mean?
It must be a precarious place
to study my dumps. Gross! – delete.

"Boa Constrictor Boobs"
OK! Imagine a bare-breasted blonde
wearing boa constrictor head sculptures
as pasties over her nipples – delete.

"Your Needle Bath"
Ouch! I hurt thinking about
laying in a bathtub full
of sharp sewing needles – delete.

"Dysentery Deflection"
First of all, did dysentery
ever have a reflection? – delete.

"Waking in Sheets Teeming with Bugs"
That spammer is high on drugs – delete.

"FOSSEMODS" in all caps.
Is that the newest drug prescription
for today's fussy models? – delete.

(Author's note: The above spams are true.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Guardian Angel

© 2008 photo and poem by Sue Miller

A friend crafted and gave me an angel,
made of gold foil wings, long blue
and white broomstick bandana skirt tied
at the waist, pea-sized pink and red bouquet
glued at the end of a twisted Tyvec arm,
a wooden ball for a head, rosy cheeks
on her light pine face, painted eyes
and an "L" for a nose, light curly blonde
bundle of hair with flair, yellow
garland for her miniature corona.

I have her suspended on a hook
by my turquoise door. I believe
she protects me from intruders
when I am asleep at night.
I believe she guards my apartment
while I am gone, repels
bad spirits with her other hand,
reassures me that things are fine,
gives me strength and faith to live
when I'm feeling tired or less worthy.


Evening's cool breeze breaks
today's heat, penetrates holes
in my shirt to cool sweat
on my stomach, tickles
my neighbor's clanging wind chime.
A breeze that ruffles tree limbs,
sways a little girl's long blonde hair
and white dress as she walks
barefoot carrying her doll
through puddles. A breeze that rolls
heavy clouds toward Old Mesilla.

Clouds fracture, reveal bluish
dusk. Large white spider veins
and lightning bolts flash and split
the southern sky. A gush of rain
pours like a giant hour glass filled
with white dust. Traces of pink paint
the western side. Clouds with charcoal
and sepia undersides meet the setting sun
that highlights light ashy edges.
Swirling clouds form a mastodon
chasing a spinning poodle, collides,
dissolves as one dark mass.

A Grasshopper's Ride

Good morning, Mr. Grasshopper--
want a ride on my left windshield wiper
going south on Espina?
You can watch cars pass
from other directions,
watch students walk on sidewalks,
skateboarders roll through campus,
bystanders with headphones
push walk buttons at traffic lights.
Ha! a lawn sprinkler sprays
a fine mist on you and the windshield.
Let's watch innocent gray doves bob
their heads on the grass.
Oh no! I almost smashed
that low-flying grackle.

I can tell you loathed the experience
by your flinching wide-spread antennas.
Are you breathing?
Normally, I would knock you off by flicking
you with my thumb and middle finger
just to see how far you'd fling in the air.
Instead, I watch how well you attach
yourself on my car on the way to work.

Here, go hide in these well-trimmed bushes.
Welcome to NMSU, Mr. Grasshopper,
where everything is plush green,
where water is everywhere,
where trees bend or dust blows on your face.
But don't stand on the sidewalk;
you might get stepped on.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Traverse City, Michigan (ACE Conference trip)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

I went to an Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) Conference during the week of June 8 through 13, in Traverse City, Michigan. This was a week of sessions, meetings, a tour and entertainment.

ACE is a professional organization of people who work in universities, government agencies and research organizations in the public sector, as well as companies in the private sector. Many work in Cooperative Extension. ACE members are writers, editors, photographers, graphic designers, videographers, electronic media producers, marketing and public relations practioners, researchers, Web developers, database programmers, distance education specialists, educators and managers.

I took lots of photos (just a few shared here). A display of boats rest behind Hagerty Center on the bay. The weather was overcast, nice and cool (cold-front chilly on Wednesday evening) and good storm later Wednesday night. It rained two or three times or more while I was there.

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

This is the back side of Hagerty Center. Many of the conference sessions and meetings were held inside Hagerty Center.

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Nice boat!

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

I liked the look of this building called River Front Plaza in the downtown section so took a picture of it.

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Early Wednesday evening ACE members had a social on the patio of the Holiday Inn (where I stayed). I joined a group of folks from North Dakota and Iowa. This brave mallard duck (I think it's a mallard anyway) kept walking around on the patio (probably looking for food).

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Thursday afternoon I went on a tour bus that took a beautiful scenic drive up to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes of Lake Michigan. In the distance is South Manitou Island. Between Sleeping Bear Dunes and South Manitou Island is Manitou Passage. The tour guide said there still are unretrieved shipwrecks in the Manitou Passage. Literature I received mention the ruins of a wrecked freighter Francisco Morazan that can be spotted off South Manitou's south shore. I'm only going to show one picture here (because I have way too many photos).

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

After the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes part of the tour, our tour guide lead us back to the bus to go up to the Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum. So I got lots of photos from there, too (only three pics shown here).

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller
After touring the dunes and maritime museum, we came back to the hotel only to get back on the bus 45 minutes later to go to the City Opera House for dinner and entertainment. I got great shots of the painted dome on the ceiling and decoration just above the stage inside the well-preserved opera house.

Window Display (Gift Shop inside Dallas/Fort Worth Airport)

© 2008 Photos by Sue Miller

Stained Glass - Wyndham Hotel (El Paso, TX)

© 2008 Photos by Sue Miller

Stained Glass - Wyndham Hotel (El Paso, TX)

© 2008 Photos by Sue Miller

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mother and Daughter

Now that I am grown,
the day is loud
with mother-daughter
voices speaking.
We have traveled,
hard roads, leading
to a learning road.
We share in wisdom
on rare occasions
that shed negative beliefs
that run our lives,
and we learn to tolerate
each other as we grow old.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Tree Bark

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Desert Willow Flowers

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Cactus in Bloom 3

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Cactus in Bloom 2

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Cactus in Bloom 1

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Druzy" Chalcedony Stones

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Bone Fetishes

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Turquoise Strands

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller


© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Restored Part of Main Street (Downtown Las Cruces)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Rio Grande Theatre

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Rio Grande Theatre Painted Corner

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Rio Grande Theatre Tile Work

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Face Painter and Her Bird

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Lone Saxophone Player

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Flowers (on Old Mesilla Plaza)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Desert Bird of Paradise (in Old Mesilla)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Eagle Carving (on Missouri)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Balloon Girl Fence (on Missouri)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Old Mesilla Plaza

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Blanket Flowers (Mesilla Plaza Area)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Tile Art - Mesquite District - Las Cruces, NM (photo 6)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Bus Stop Man (photo 5)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Neighborhood Wall Art (Photo 4)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Yippee for the Rain Man

© 2008 Photo and poem by Sue Miller (artist unknown)

Or is he the yippee-yi-yay man
jumping for rain in a cloud shirt,
on a cloudy day man
in striped pants.
A blissful man,
a cone head man,
almond shaped eye
with a beehive pupil,
a Cyclops eye man
full of spirit-can-you-feel-it man.
His jumping "J" boots are jammin' man.
Star of the watermelon pink wall.
Now he's online as the yippee man.

Neighborhood Wall Art (photo 2)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Neighborhood Wall Art (photo 1)

© 2008 Photo by Sue Miller

Monday, May 12, 2008

An Outgrowing

Mid 60s--American Japanese girl next door
invited me to play her Beatles records.
Star struck, I looked at her framed reproduction
of John Lennon on her bedroom wall, I imitated
him and the others, played air guitar,
harmonicas and drums before it became the rave.
I pretended to be them with a Beatle haircut,
sang their vocal parts over invisible microphones.

Mid 90s, I cleaned and dusted my collection.
I couldn't believe they were my idols.
I put away those records like old love letters.
John, Paul, George and Ringo--crushes vanished,
a fading mirage and an eye blink.
Silly, imitating the Beatles.


Why was I scared? Where did it come from?
I'd be on my hands and knees, hiding,
under tables, scared that teachers would get me.
I remember growing up quiet and timid because
"children were meant to be seen, not heard."

In school, looking, searching, afraid
of not being able to move forward, afraid
of not having enough skills, afraid
of being hurt, of not being educated, afraid
of being limited or criticized, afraid
of being held back, afraid of inexperience, afraid
of speaking before groups. I wonder
where did this timidity come from?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

All we have to fear is fear itself

fear of the unexpected
of predicted storms tomorrow
dreading trips she doesn't want to take
as nervousness brings accidents
afraid to walk around the corner
worried that evil waits in shadows
she hesitates to take one more step
timid of free choice
unable to understand leads to confusion
apprehension of future events
with pointless qualms of perceived danger
doubts, anxiety, trembling, stress
causing social doom upon herself

I want to tell my mother
that troubles can duly disappear
our woes change to relief
taking risks to find out the truth
turn on the light when fate is shadowed
we have the power
to grow like colorful flowers
our reactions stay calm as we know
that this inspires us
as religion of fear disintegrates

Monday, April 14, 2008

Finding My Muse

Do poets pay homage to a muse—
invoke by asking for help? HELP!
I need inspiration. I have not studied
the nine muses of Greek mythology.

Where are they?

Today, I ask the epic muse
to help me find my heroes.
The muse of tragedy suffers
because of social degradation and divisive
politicians who destroy America.
Maybe I'll find the muse of lyre music
to set a mood. The muse of hymns
goes to my mother's house. I know,
I can hear her humming. Last summer,
the muse of dance performed Pow-Wow's
in full costume—in blistering heat.
The muse of comedy plays on TV,
just watch the Hollywood crowd.

Where do I fit? Am I like Urania
the celestial muse, cosmic
poet of the heavens, sings lyrics
while holding a globe and compass?
My muse is with life on earth,
wind, trees, birds and sea,
air, light, moons, sun and poetry.
Though I have little clue about the cosmos,
I enjoy gazing at night's endless sky
to marvel at stars and search for UFOs.

On a Park Bench

Bold was he the hungry beggar—
expressive perched soul. Too close,
I feared the worst. Remember
the horror film, The Birds?

Sleek was he in shiny dark
blue-black, slick as oil,
breezes flickered his long tail
like a smoker taps a cigarette.
Patient, gregarious grackle's
beady black eyes spoke volumes
without words between us.

How has God provided for him?
Maybe picnickers left no food,
or seeds too hard to find—
and the voice above did ask of me.

I pinched my sandwich, breaking
bread, as at the Lord's Supper
and raised it to his eye level,
he hip, hopped, danced a bop
fluttered and flapped, flipped and flew
fetching thrown food on the grass.
I did my deed for the day.

Monday, March 24, 2008


My name is not Yolanda,
and Jessie doesn't live here.
What part of wrong number
don't you get?
Stop calling
to schedule appointments
for Jessie.
I do not know her.
Who is Yolanda--Jessie's mother?

Who is Jessie?
Is she caught in unexpected conditions,
a troubled teen?
Is she treatable?
Maybe she is dodging psychosis,
hiding from intrusive forces
to require Tresco's social services.
Pitiful young woman,
I feel frightened for her.

Magnetic Poetry Kits

I was word challenged,
mind bare.
Help, a kit away,
I thought.

A fridge door with magnets,
words lined up in alpha rows
to find a word,
to help spark ideas,
but expressions stuck there--

Just grab any ol' word
and slide them around
see what I get--

I needed words--
they were missing.
No matter how I slid them
nothing worked.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Little Servants

Four thin bodies, trapped,
stuck to a magnet
in a white, house-shaped container,
heads peaking through a slot
ready to be grabbed
as needed.

We holler for attention--
we can't wait
to attach ourselves
if only you will let us.

We love it when you bend our
stiff, wired existence
to slip us over the edge
of your pages of poetry.

What boring lives
dangling here
or lying on the floor,
helpless paperclips.
How much longer can we rest?
We're caught up on our sleep already.

We want action--
give us purpose, meaning--
let us serve you,
oh master.


I will never forget Rebecca from grade school,
the one with a bony right arm, shoulder bones
protruding out of her tank top's arm hole,
she seemed not to be overly conscious of it.
I looked at it often. Why her left side
normal and right side skin and bones?

I wanted to ask her about it, but I remained
silent. Later, I heard she had polio.
I wondered if she was in pain. She never showed it.
She was courageous, strong. Her words gentle and wise.

We often met on the school yard during recess,
bouncing a big, red rubber ball
on the blacktop—throwing it, catching it.

She glowed like sunshine, fair skin,
blond, shoulder-length hair and glistening
eyes like faceted aquamarine jewels. Her smile
of innocence, her presence an inspiration.

A big sister to me—my playground buddy,
making the best of a friendship.
She became my beacon of truth and light.
Maybe she was thankful to have me
as a friend who treated her like a normal person.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Young Girl at the Mirror

I once dreamed
about me as a young girl
looking into a mirror,
almost through it,
seeing a strange side of myself.

My eyes,
drawn into a mysterious vortex,
sucking my soul
into a world of unknown--
a window of opportunity
to view a past life.

I saw a deep tunnel--
felt summoned.
By whom?
To time travel?

I did not want to be pulled
into another place or century,
afraid of no return.

Would I have taken a journey
through farm life,
talked to my ancestors,
lived like a peasant girl
in another dream?
Would I be here today?

Monday, January 28, 2008


If you walked into a healing chamber,
        would you use it?
I want to make a glass room
in the shape of a pyramid
where you can walk inside,
lay on a table to rest.
You can close your eyes,
Say your prayers.
Let your troubles disappear.

If I invent a sonic machine
hooked up to the chamber
        will you believe in it?
I want your afflictions to go away,
sure as the sun warms you.
You will be free
of diseases that destroy
your precious body
that should last in spirit,
for eternity.

If I install a steamer
inside the chamber,
        will you sweat away
        the toxins built up inside you?
Your skin will freshen,
pure and plump, supple
as a baby.
You will be happy and hydrated,
filled with positives
that spark your life.

Gary Larson Cartoon

I used to think tiny musicians hid in the radio,
quietly waiting until Mom turned the knob.
They always played soft lullaby music—
their job, to put me to sleep. They failed.
I'd stay awake at night, speculating.
How did they get in there?
Naïve of me to imagine small men
dressed in fine suits, ties and shiny black shoes,
playing inside a radio.
How many fit in there?
When did they know to stop?
Many questions I could not answer.

In Gary Larson's cartoon
a curious man
takes off the front panel
of his car radio.
Jazz musicians with their instruments
look guilty as they are caught inside.
The caption says, "Aha!
It's on my refrigerator.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Unforgotten Homeless

We called her Post Office Patty. Always wore jackets.
Hearsay shared among townsfolk, she chose life on the streets,
shrugged chances of comfortable subsistence, opportunity.

Waiting for Big Daddy from the Flea Market.
Word got around he gave her money—daily.
She ate at Luby's every night, back room.

Something about her—her eyes, shiny,
sky blue against rugged skin, thin, frail,
weathered as cracks in dry wood.

Slept in parks. One night, another homeless raped her.
She got pregnant. Baby taken away. She pushed
a walker around, blankets draped over the handle.

Summer and winter, helpless as a dirty, worn rag,
she limped away, dragging her feet. Stringy threads
hung from her extra-long pants, covering her shoes.

Old Mesilla

I remember bicycle rides through an old neighborhood.
A kind of rural feel in the 4-Points Cotton Gin area,
where rain puddles sit stagnant for days, harboring
mosquitoes. Illegal immigrants hiding in darkness behind
the gin. They bothered no one. The dense smoky air
during cotton processing, hovering like a bomb cloud,
bothered my asthma so I could not breathe.

On the edge of Old Mesilla, Mesilla Park, a quick
jaunt down the road, not knowing where division
lines begin or end. Remembering tall grasses, flowers
and fences, dirt and gravel with weeds along roadsides,
old, cracked adobe homes, makeshift-repaired
by unskilled hands. In a rental house with those obnoxious
barking wiener dogs running back and forth wildly
inside a chain link fence, destroying the yard until
it becomes a plant less, sinking desert sandbox.

Painted old mailboxes on unsteady posts,
ditches flowing of murky water, mirroring clouds
on good days. Humongous trees dedicated
to Audubon Society bird watchers, and the phone
bird, I used to call it, who tricked me every time
into running into the house to pick up the receiver.
Sunflowers taller than me guarding a vegetable
and herb garden, their heads drooping
from heavy weight, giving seeds to birds.

I miss the Richman's, grandma and grandpa types,
taking their walks up and down Union Avenue,
gossiping over the fence, telling tales
about building famous bridges and lousy neighbors
with junky cars taking up space in front of their yard.
And that Catholic preacher next door trying to tell me
my soul is not saved until I'm baptized,
and telling me stories about renovating a desecrated
old church in Hill, and starting a new congregation there.

I miss walks along McDowell road, Conway and Highway 28,
ghosts on a ditch road, the ghost dog and the phantom sports car
as I pulled out. I don't miss that retarded guy, Jesse,
with his tunnel vision and near accidents on his bicycle,
who came over to show me his battery-operated fan
the size of his hand that didn't work and I couldn't fix it.