Corner of Raymer and Encino

Here on the corner where I turn right,
sometimes after stopping at a low brick wall
to ponder big or small quandries
or talk on my phone without walking,
there’s a long span of poppies
wafting in morning light. From down the road

it looks like a knee-high flock of butterflies
in hover formation. This is a high wind zone.
But today a flag flaps slowly in an adjacent yard
like a sail in harbor. A lizard suns
while one hyper moth sweeps by
toward whatever it wants.

A mail truck plods past. We do our ritual wave
while birds on all sides cacophonate.
It’s what we want. Like if we’re cool, the way
things will be. Then when the wind comes up—
sadness, disappointment, rage—
there may be another layer, loathing

how we just can’t grow up/
make the grade/deal with our stuff.
The lizard’s off up a tree, not down
for wherever this is going. Yet all is calm
now, inside and out, left
and right, flagpole clacking.


#6 of 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Writing Month, April 2017