In a neighborhood of old shade, maple seeds helix down,
winging onto windshields, mixing
with the berry-smeared shit of birds and clotting the gutters.
From this wide porch of the Middle West
one can hear supper plates clatter and the responsible hum
of leafblowers. It’s the dog-walking hour
when screen doors bang and the neighbor’s ex drives past,
bass strafing the place. He’s just trying
to get a look at his kid on the way to his railyard shift.
Amid the iteration of American four-squares
and airplane bungalows, the people of this town are coupled up
and hunkering down. Here the weathervane
has rusted east, pointing toward the statehouse, where books
first happened to young Langston Hughes,
and in Curry’s famous mural, sulphurous clouds muscle above
John Brown’s fierce Bible and rifle stance,
fire flagging at his back, blood and the dead under his boots.
When streetlamps judder on, it’s time to go in
to the placid tones of the local newscaster’s evening report
on the usual city council incivilities.
The radar forecasts what the wind chimes already know.
— Amy Fleury