The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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Today the bass booming
through the neighborhood is sad,
like the nuisance rose that comes back wilder
with each harsh pruning and which one day
I will rip out altogether, wearing leather gloves
to the elbow. I want to cry at all of it: the energy
of the newlyweds next door, their confidence
tackling lawn grubs, the zeal of their decorating, their fights.
How shiny black their grill. And the German shepherd
pup, ears and nose too long for who he is today,
and the bravado of the girl spray-painting
her flip-flops gold for the prom, the knees
of the mailman, still white in April, exposed
below the regulation bermudas.
I am not talking remembrances here, nor ruin.
This is not the loneliness of my grandmother’s elephant
brooch, red, white, and blue rhinestones resting in my jewelry box, not
the cousin who ate candles the last three days he was alive.
It is not even a longing for the reliable fathers
in the old neighborhood, that insistent piano note
backed by strings. Today I tear up seeing vinegar
and oil refuse to mix, watching the bastard
across the street repaint the little Amish buggy
and figurines and set them for summer
on his unused porch, his tulips lined up singly,
sousaphone players in a high-school band.
Today I’m sad because the lawn mower starts
and the newspaper slaps the front door. I weep to see
the pantry shelves crowded with canned soup and peaches, how
lemons stacked in a white bowl resemble grief.