She’s still in her housecoat, our neighbor from the era when ladies used the word “housecoat,” when she comes to lean on our porch and tell me her husband’s in the hospital.
“This is how it started for his dad,” she says. “But Doc swears this is different.” Then on to a litany of transgressions and missteps among the parents and children in this town she knows so well, words to distract her from other words, hospital words.
It’s better out here in the sunshine, even if this morning is cool enough for a sweater.
The neighborhood hellion of a decade ago walks by slowly with his mom, explaining in a calm voice… ”We’ve been over it a million times. You’re going to list the house and then…” and they’re past us, words lost in bird song and the bark of the new puppy across the road.
The sun tops the roof-line, and we turn our faces up. My son’s calico chases moths and suns herself on the warm porch as we talk. The cat rolls her back on the fallen geranium petals, swats at a lazy bee, one from the nest under the porch floor, nest I’ve been trying and failing to reach all month. Someday soon, I’ll hear them buzzing beneath our wicker chairs.
My neighbor heads home to hang sheets on the line. They’ll dry in the sun while she’s at his bedside. I offer to bring them in before the afternoon rain. The puppy quiets.
I turn back to the idea of a poem, but it’s gone to sleep and left the morning to us list makers and errand runners. The cat leap onto my notebook-covered lap, scattering words like moths and pink petals.