Alcibiades 4

coffee pot sighs low
neighbors kids playing outside
both of my roommates
fast asleep behind closed door
my heart beats in the quiet

desire and boredom
intertwine for long sleep
living breathes easy
shadow sun moves from window
but dreams keep me awake

when i was a boy
old sheets were used as curtains
to block dust from fields
front door nailed shut from strangers
back door pad locked when none home

how can I miss now
a house that embarassed me?
wallpaper falling
venetian blinds bent broken
chimneys crumbling on themselves

dusty and cluttered
but once a great new farmhouse
tall windows polished
hardwood floors–in cold winter
water in toilet would freeze

this was the backdrop
to great history
unfolding in the front yard
where I was Moses, Merlin
or stuttering Claudius

who with death defeated
sits on the front porch with dog
both of us scratching
lay back on boards swollen damp
feet against cold concrete steps

staring at broken
trellis where rose bush still climbed
before hanging down
smell of black dirt just turned up
for planting some grain or cotton

and there the big stump
great cedar branches blown down
just missing rooftop hollow
place for hiding my treasures
and watching ants grow fungi

as day plays out saw
whirs cutting through ash plywood
daddy working late
another job done for cheap
mama trying to help him

saturday at dusk
bored on my dad’s truck hood
teasing some junebugs
catching fireflies thinking about
sunday meatloaf beans cornbread

I hear his hammer
nail the last nail into place
watch them put away
tools and then go inside that
old house our home my background

i was scared to stay
playing less and less outside
escaping in books
and finally in friendships
that took me farther from home

small dog softly barks
telephone rings beside bed
neighbor slams car door
curiosity fills up
these roads with nowhere journeys

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