Small and anxious, like caged dogs,
the neighboring bungalows are captive
to barred windows and dangling,
mid-June Christmas decorations.
From a slow, passing sedan, a wave of music
plays backwards, un-remembering, as it rolls by.
The sky, a scorched haze,
low and without birds.
Quiet as vapor, I turn the corner.
There’s something absolute in the air,
like a desert island ruled by an omnipotent leper.
If one of these houses was to catch fire,
spark, say, into a healthy blaze
and burn from the inside out,
even the trapped flames couldn’t escape.
The dry lawns, as if asleep, lie down before me.
The distant sun rehearses its quiet fire.
I don’t smoke.
In my clenched fist, a cigarette lighter.
The rest cannot be explained.
Appeared in Angels Flight Literary West, July, 2016