Thursday, April 2, 2020

Suburban Wilderness

The sovereign presence of the past
Feels thinner, more tenuous here
Along the edge of its frontiers,

Like an empire far away,
Laws half-enforced, half-obeyed.
Recent, attenuated

Past is all and hardly much
In this tract subdivision,
Fresh tracts rising around it.

These streets hold uncertainties,
Mysteries, doubts, but without
Any obvious reason.

There’s more of wilderness here
Than in any guarded park,
If somewhat less of beauty.

No one knows who sees the moon
Instead of a glowing screen.
No one knows who waits for dawn

And birdsong on a back porch,
And no one but that one cares.
Yesterday this was a field,

And no one remembers what
It was before that. No one
Will remember anything

In another five, ten years
In these houses where the age
Of the average resident

Hovers around sixty-five
And only their last few years
Here, here only these few years.

No, that seems somewhat unfair.
Memories will be made here.
There’s just no monument yet

To the more typical fear
That what humans have done here
Other humans might forget.

A black cat sleeps on green lawn
Beside a blue, plastic gnome
Holding lamplit realms of gold

That light up after sunset
Thanks to a solar panel
On the gnome’s back. It’s at home.

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