in the morning when I watered the plants
the trash truck backed and beeped its way by and
one neighbor in an oversized black SUV burst too strongly
up the street, then gruffed her tires to the curb
squeaking rubber and scowling
to let the collectors slip through before
she shot down the remainder of the outlet, squealing onto
the main road and rupturing this morning ritual of
crow squawks and municipal noises with her engine growl.
and even the family across the street, whose coop was clucking
into the morning din, sighed relief through breakfast curtains
as her roughness dissipated into sea fog and
the chickens finally quieted down, perhaps though just because
enough of their work was done to quiet into Wednesday dawn.
that afternoon I wondered what the other neighbor noticed
as he gathered his cooler, mask and hardhat from the passenger seat
of his little red truck, the one he parks across from our front door
did he hear you mumble in the street, crouched and staring
through sunglasses at a burst milkweed mess,
questioning the dry stems as you snipped carefully
around butterfly eggs and scrounged what’d gone to seed?
did he notice me in the sun spot on the steps,
looking on softly from below a furrowed brow,
nose atwitch at the sharp smell of sliced stems wafting up the walk from your workstation,
or was he as lost in a thought as we were, perhaps blind to everything but a summer moment, last year
when his daughter bounced
out of the passenger door and soccer-cleat kicked that truck’s bumper
affectionately, her cheeks aglow from a well fought win, his too.
I wonder this as I hear Kate across the street clanging dishes through an open window, as she laughs in her kitchen, preparing dinner
and the crows caw in waves, hummingbirds cackle at our too brown salvia,
and you sweep the sidewalk smooth.