Curbside

                                                                               Day 1
There's one week every
six months
where my neighborhood
loses its dignity;
white plastic chairs
sit empty on the sidewalks,
old televisions become the
scrying glasses to the pavement.

I usually join in this game,
my competitiveness
not to be outdone.

I stand at the driveway,
staring at the unadorned curb,
an eye without mascara,
so I start with my old clothes,
oversized, outmatched, and reaking of
button-shaped disappointment.
I found an old Hawai'ian shirt
lurking in the back of the shadows of the closet,
hiding in the place even the light couldn't escape.

Funny, I think to myself.
Funny I don't remember this.
When, in truth, I did.
I remembered the way my wife
laughed when I pulled it over my
undershirt in a second-hand store
dressing room.
I remembered the way the starch
made my insides ache for a cold shower.
I didn't remember the party that
came afterward.

But, into the bag it goes and I caresse it to the
curb,
satisfied with my steady hand
and with my contribution to the curbside fortifications
lining our street.
Welcome to Camelot.

                                                                              Day 2
I knew Wayne and Grace had been
having trouble lately.
The TV was on way too long
after the lights were turned off.
But, I never asked. Wayned had borrowed
my hedge trimmers a few weeks ago and gave them back
attached to a six-pack of beer.
As far as I was concerned, he was
a good guy and we were friends.
             Gracie drives a Suburu.
             That Suburu, blue
             and white slipped out nights ago.
Wayne sat on the porch last night,
a wolf who had lost his voice,
howling at the smile-sky.

There was a vanity, in semi-mint, thirty-year conditioned, still smelling likesweet jasmine and rose-water,
and the accompanying chairs,
a draping model (for finding seams),
and a sewing machine,
two candlesticks (one for him and one for her),
a comforter,
and a Valentine's Day card.

I puled into my driveway and
carried out my extra sets of tools.

                                                                        Day 3
Mildred put the leather Laz-E-Boy and low-ball glass,
nestled into a groove in the armrest,
into a shaded spot next to her mailbox.
                                                                        Day 4
I pay attetion to the school speed limit signs.
Perhaps it's because I don't have kids,
so I don't know the adrenaline-push
to get to them before the others do.

Jackie and Harrison go to the
middle school and high school
respectively.
Harrison started driving last year, and
picks up Jackie when he's done.
He's a good kid,
nearly tall as his dad
and strong.
He wanted a truck he told me once,
while I was watering the lantanas.
                                                          "I want a yellow one."
I told him everyone would be able to see him coming.
                                                          "That's the point," he said. "Isn't
                                                         that why we drive? To be noticed?"
I told him I hadn't thought of it that way and
I looked over at my
Ford, nicked and bruised,
swollen and saggy. "I suppose when you're young.
Yeah."
That night I made love to my wife.
The curb could wait until tomorrow.
                                                                 Day 5
That morning I pushed my vacuum to the curb.
We had already bought a new one,
a better one.
I kept trying to tell myself that I'd
fix it and it
sat in a corner for three years,
never inhaling, only exhaling,
and doing nothing about it.

Funny thing is, it was gone by sundown.
I hope they know the bag has to be replaced.
                                                                         Day 6
We walked out to our curbs and waved hi to everyone.
The grass at our devil's yards were yellowed for
housing everyone's laundry.
But, the grass will grow back.
It always does.

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