One Friday Morning

Exactly one week after a young man drops
three feet to the ground from a piñon branch,
landing–his mother imagines in quiet horror–on all fours,
then crouched like his childhood superhero, one hand
pushing himself up in slow motion, the other rubbing
his throat, coughing, gasping, eyes watering
as he begins the walk home, hoodie pulled tight,
stars winking forever behind the gibbous moon,
she is dragging crushed cardboard pizza boxes
and five bags of household waste—two of which
she has marked with T in red permanent ink,
the other three with R—to the end
of the grey gravel drive under the piñon.
With clear packing tape, she attaches to one bag
a $30 check in a business sized envelope on which
she has written Thanks to the thin local man
who picks up the bags with his truck every week.
An hour passes before she realizes it is not Monday.
Against weekend bears, she carries the bags back
to the storage shed, sees the beer box on a shelf
she has filled with kitchen knives, painkillers,
flu meds, scissors, extension cords, hammock
straps. Gently closing the door, she turns a key
in the padlock. Thinks of where to put her keys.
Catching her breath, stepping out from the car port,
pacing the drive in no specific direction, she notices
Russian sage, the bright rising mist, scans the forest
at the foot of the Blood of Christ mountains,
offers a wordless apology to the unknown tree,
unable to untie her son’s broken hope from its limb.

5 October 2018

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