By Marshall Mallicoat - Jun 17, 2019
Two skinny foxes laze around the yard
near fearless of the homeowners’ association.
They roll and prance in the crunchy, yellow grass
and paw the dirt, perhaps looking for worms,
while I take in the scent of cut cilantro.
The hammerfall of roofers in the distance
pops like toy drums, muffled by thick air.
I’m glad to be so far from industrious men
though still within the ken of their industry,
and pleased, I have decided, to be idle
in the society of noble foxes.
Mayor put apartments on top of cafés
to occlude the birds.
I live in one and make my tea there.
Mayor had the rain gutters tuned—
now more legato.
This one sways about my window.
In the alley where vans back up,
I see seven flowers peeking:
three yellow, three blue, one white.
(They’re here for the birds.)
We carry our shoes through blue mosques
looped around our necks as if ribbons
on a pair of prize-winning pigs.
A black dome hangs above us
(where we tiptoe on thick rugs)
like the starry vault of the night sky.
Out in the gray, sea-borne air,
Europeans in dark clothes scuttle about
exchanging lire for stale bagels and chai.
If there are dolphins in the Black Sea,
I am one—
call me from the ferry.
If the cats are measuring string
below your sagging balcony,
lay out some milk:
I am thirsty
from our long talks
in the evening.
You never laugh, just snort a puff of air,
crinkle your eyes, and look away from me.
Like water, you have reached perfection by
expelling everything that is not you.
And you are joined by ever more of you,
as the streams which feed and purify a lake.
Whenever you cry, tears cluster on your cheeks
like almonds ripening beneath your eyelids.
And I would pluck them, if
they were not also perfect.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RAEGAN BIRD.