When the school bus deposited us
at the overgrown pear tree, anyone could hear
the quick rustle of our leaving, climbing
through the evergreen wall, across the open lawn,
always careful of the doorway window and
the old mute woman, the kind every neighborhood has… and there,
a pocket beside the wild thorny raspberry bushes and the
stubborn woody bracket, stood the slim columns of milkweed.
Some of the pods were like little chests
and had already spilled
the feather-mess, but other pods
were still tight as clamped oysters.
Cracking open the brittle shells with a crack and a rock–
spreading those cloudy insides between our fingers,
the lazy angels floated into the undergrowth.
Most of the kids left the empty pods scattered behind,
but my brother and I knew better. A little glitter, glue, and a few
tiny buttons and patterned handkerchief scraps from our mother’s junk
drawer is all it took–
And yet I knew the hungry distance grazing between myself
and those backyard afternoons. It was a fear
of the gray-stained woman stationed at her window.
It all went beyond the trespassing milkweed… my unkowing reached
to where the orange, wind-whipped field
greets the graveled road. It is a place.
How can you have something be a place, a guilt of doing–
the naive guilt, even, of something so,
so incredibly insignificant.