When he leaves for work, grey
t-shirt, Wrangler jeans, he carries
his dirty lunch box, thermos of ice and water,
mostly ice. I watch him
sling the bag of kitchen trash into the bed
of his rusty pickup truck. I hear it hit
bottom, recyclables not sorted, a bottle
clinking against an aluminum can.
The cardboard will be burned in the woods
along with rotted tree stumps and scurrying
ants turned to ash. Our house is permanent,
a structure with a foundation. It rains all April
long and the basement stays dry. Not a drop
of moisture, relatively few spiders. The ceilings
are eight feet high and it is hard to believe
I am underground. He does not see poetry
in these things, stones on the driveway,
their separate togetherness, the spaces
between them as important as their origin.
He does not understand why it matters
that every day, those stones will be turned
by tires, flattened or relocated. That eventually,
they will cease to be, ground to dust, replaced.
Why I see meaning there. He cannot imagine
pondering what seems irrelevant. Yet he carries stones,
one at a time, from the creek bed, from the field,
the flattest, symmetrical rocks he can find,
places them for a sidewalk, and feels
pride at having placed them where they will
remain forever, maybe.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania. Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in over one hundred online and print journals. Her chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (www.kindofahurricanepress.com).
Copyright © 2016 by April Salzano