Wind rattles the window at 3 a.m.
Next door the neighbor lady lives a structured life.
But murder shakes things up. Blood drips
Ducking down to escape bullets .
She pulls in hard to get hold of her breath,
A life force we usually take for granted.
It’s a cover up. A star-spangled quilt
Machine made to suffocate and silence a voice.
Stuck, she cannot fight nor flee. She stretches
Up. Through the bullet holes and cracked window
With a quick glimpse sees neighborhood children
Ignore trauma and you are traumatized
Probably for life. It grows.
Graceful daffodil fields
Sprout dandelions, sending gray seed clouds across the land.
Concrete and marble stairs divide into designated lanes.
Half way up I freeze in mid-step. A car so loud we crouch,
Honks a command to the kids: Move out the way.
Passed along, a promise breaks when hands exchange a lie.
We cover with what worked long ago for the ancestors,
Tied goat skin, beat ropes, red, yellow, green djembes.
The wind left blown oak branches littering the cemetery,
Broken glass and bullet ridden siding
And cars with flat tires or no tires at all.
I say, “Spirit stays on earth.”
Winds do stop.
We need surgeons of the soul.
The gospel, long ago laid to rest in a closet.
Leaves us with us.
Every morning arrives in its own light.
Life’s purpose lies in honoring the dead,
So they can be proud of their work.
For the living, life’s work is to care
For all of us who live down the street.