When I walk in the back door
past the refrigerator and into the kitchen
you are sitting there in a ribbed undershirt
and gray work pants. Your day is done

but you are not tired. I bring you all my
treasures in a cigar box — the perfect
cat’s-eye marble, blue sea glass, broken
tile from the old neighbor’s demolished house,

matches from some thin-walled motel
in a faraway state. I have placed these
in a box for you to discover, to examine
each one and see why I love

the distance, the light, the strange
beauty of transformation that these
objects hold. Where have you been?
you would ask. In hiding places

in the green dreams of backyards,
in the melancholy world behind garages,
where secrets are told and children cry.
You would examine every piece with reverence

and tell a story about each one,
making us laugh and be full
of pity for each small life, for the sidewalk
outside our house, for the maps inside

the glove compartment, for the acorns
that litter the yard, fallen from the world’s
largest oak, which pushes through our driveway,
for the neighbors’ restless child

hoping for sleep. We watch the night
come on as we sit at the table, the fireflies’
yellow signals flickering on and off in the backyard
like distant lanterns from another kingdom.