or read the lightly revised version here:
Friday in the Subdivision
Lament for an unnamed man whose last words were, “Babe, I’m sorry. It hurts so much.”
In the calm of mowed lawns
and identical drives
no taboos are broken.
Doors are left open.
Sprinklers arch their summer tongues.
Unfolded lawn chairs
left out at night
shine in shameless places.
You planted your garden
but told no one,
held your grandchildren
like a wandering amnesiac
all the while grafting a plan.
No one knows the real weight
of what they thought they heard
or of what you carried
or how, as you fired you begged
the lifeless form you once loved to breathe.
O nameless one, when asked to drop
your gun you knew it suicide to refuse.
Yet that is what was done.
And now the world has less of you and more.
Investigations yield unwieldy prayers.
Dogs lapse across barren yards.
When death comes to you as soft as air
glide patiently from the sleeve
of your body’s crumbled coat.
Forgive the neighbors
for what they are about to say:
their stunted shrubs,
the even mow, stems of bleeding hearts,
rows of shadow we all walk across.