The children in the red house
look down as if
contemplating the safety of their lawn chairs
while their mother hides
an Easter egg between St. Francis' legs.
A car passes. Another stops in the middle of Fulsom
so the teenagers inside
can catcall to the girls rollerblading.
in my neighbor's driveway--seems to be sinking.
A woodpecker hammers the mast every morning.
On holidays, my older sister
read the same Chomsky book over and over again.
The reruns on television
reminded her what holidays are for.
Those days, I lined funky pens on the hearth.
I hung bags
of dominoes from an I-beam in the den.
How many nursery rhymes
did I have to memorize to forget all else?
The ham is ready, the table set, and my old dog
the neighbor’s cat traipsing through the back yard.
You are in the bathroom,
putting on eyeliner and lipstick for our mother.
I remember the hot water heater moaning in apposition
with your hamster's wheel.
You have brought her a present of dried leaves
wrapped around a gourd.
You tell her that her white buckled shoes are nice.
The spikes on the fence are rusting. The members
of the church down the block
are dying. That Easter I waited in bed with you
for angels to arrive
with their eyes shut, their lips pursed and blue as ice—or flame.