Only in our daily phone routine do my neighbor and I punctuate strict silence.
“What?!” he barks, after the fifth ring of my third try.
“Never mind!” I say.
We hang up.
He’s still alive.
“Oh come on, Mom! What difference does it make if he spends the night? You think I’m still a virgin? At eighteen?”
“It’s my house.”
“I live there.”
“Under my roof, my rules.”
“My body, my rules.”
“Your body, your baby.”
“I know how to protect myself.”
As we glide into the mountain tunnel, lane-lines pound out their familiar beat into our headlights. She doesn’t think to remove her Ray Bans.
Summer’s down to a simmer
but still here to savor.
A sole sunflower stands
in the field of sticky weeds.
I eye it in the morning.
It eyes me in the evening.
My vase remains empty.
I mow a neat row into the green
towards the compost pile —
clean grass whisks with moist June light
into the black basket that just knocks my knees .
I plunge barehanded into the smooth cool cuttings,
wiggle my fingers, and come up with scoops
of innocent bladed perfume.
My hands hover over last night’s potato peels
and this morning’s coffee grounds.
I give my thanks – then apologize and beg
forgiveness before lowering them
onto their rotten doom.
My fingertips stay stained for days.