In memoriam Francis X. Hogan (1913-1974)
On Sunday mornings in March my father
would take a homemade kite broad as his back
After a night of rain
eucalyptus hangs heavy and redolent with damp breath.
Ground fog clings to unmown grasses in the park
where the dog bounds like a joyful shadow.
It is the time of the jacaranda
when streets are violet carpets
and venders call "Hay elotes! " in the early evening.
No reason to think this could not last forever
When the sun comes early
through eastern windows
and a single horsefly buzzsaws the air
it is then I rise from bed
I was raised in the decade of the death of the elms
with the sight of Sputnik twinkling in the night sky
where one could walk the last of the driftwood beaches
and see weathered cottages beyond the dunes.
The moon fades over Arizona and the morning sun is more dangerous.
Even the rain when it finally falls is no friend to man
or woman either.
Toads cry like lost children when the torrent ceases
A girl reclining by an open window.
I do not say this way
the only thing one saw that day.
There was a strip of luminous green,
A coyote paces the enclosure
his eyes looking toward the hills.
His paws had been stung by barbed wire, broken glass
until the pads were cracked and bloodied.
The one you could not wait for
so you went ahead
as children do in the snow
to make fallen angels.