Trees barely moving in morning breeze,
curtains too heavy to drift, merely
shifting back and forth. Geese dark streaks
across a grey sky. Somewhere
The little orange cocktail umbrella is the first thing to go and the only thing that doesn’t die.
It starts one humid Friday night on the balcony of a high-rise apartment near the Everglades. Aaron Cole raises his sangria glass. “Why didn’t I come visit you sooner, you old bastard?” he says with rough and slightly tipsy affection, and Joel Stone responds in kind.
through the night, radiated
with hazy street lamps,
My girlfriend tells me we’re haunted by dead coyotes. In a blue room in a grey house in Milwaukie, we cut up t-shirts I can’t fit in anymore and M tells me she can hear the ghosts howling.
“That doesn’t really sound like a coyote,” I say when she makes the noise for me, an eee-eee-eee sort of noise that sounds more like a dolphin than a phantom coyote.
“I’m not doing it right—do you hear it now? It’s there,” and she stands on the stacked foam mattress toppers to see out the window.
The summer house is at the edge of Johnson Creek, a three bedroom rental two blocks from a TriMet station. We spend weekends in the sun, smoking joints and pulling the house from swelling vines of blackberry and clematis. They root into the grey frame and I’m worried one day the earth might swallow the house whole.
“It’s probably just the Gold Man,” I tell M when she won’t stop looking out the window.
Stanza derives from the Italian word for room. Stanza breaks are doorways and line breaks are furniture. Together, they build a house.
This is how I remember my grandma’s house: 4518 N, the Lakers logo on the basketball court, spaghetti and meatballs on the stove, the color pink, poinsettias.