(is a) Dead frog hard and rotting at the curb; unmatched
hubcaps. One might call “to love” April’s first sun
where the skin burns, the heart enveloped
in the hardiest permafrost, an epic tundra’s
death; the infinitive.
Tiny bees fly
in irrational patterns near my feet. He was
in the Gulf War—the neighbor. He was exposed
to a chemical that slowly eats the brain. We have
been in this house twelve years,
when it was
supposed to be five, the tan one with the coneflowers
I planted. The children
have worn the grass with their pounding feet. I have viewed
the world from this porch for twelve years.
The car had belonged to the neighbor’s wife.
She died before he moved here. How
does a possessive apostrophe work when the thing
you possessed is dead? I never met her,
but when I see her car sitting there, the abandoned
emerald-city-idol he has kept, I imagine her:
yellow brick hair and a face like a pink, open
hopping in the car to run an errand
as though it were any other Tuesday,
planting bulbs in the fall, and standing outside in a t-shirt
smoking a cigarette complaining of her husband’s
lack of cleaning after himself. Now he grows things
unkempt as if he were Rapunzel, as if he has her tied
like the weight at the end of his apathy, bound
out the window, pooled in the oil-stained drive.
At two o’clock this afternoon the sun
glints off the large, peeling hood
as though it were a prayer reverberated.
Caroline Plasket’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Hobart, Copper Nickel, The Laurel Review, Cherry Tree, The Cortland Review, Atticus Review, Threadcount Magazine, and elsewhere. She was previously a mentee in the AWP Writer to Writer Program.