Dreams of Home-ish
Sal takes two black stomp stomp boots across the creek and over the hill home. Nobody wants him there, all the stones have rearranged themselves. There’s no entry except the side door now. Sal takes two big steps, one over me, one over you. I only want one chance to prove I’m beautiful enough. Sal gives us no chances. Sal gives us two hands full of nectarines. Sal reminds us of spring and we’re not so down any more, just pure silver, like two calm dogs sitting at the feet of two black stones. Spiders and wood chips collect on the floor in the room where Sal undoes his shoelaces. A dirty light shines in from a dirty window. At night it’s so dark that I go blind. At night when there is a moon Sal comes to the moonlit square on the floor to lie. We find him in the morning, mouth hung open like an old still. We take two small steps over Sal. He doesn’t wake up to offer us anything. He doesn’t stir, doesn’t sigh. Sal is president quiet sleeper. Sal is our old country. We know the grasses that cover the hills. We know the places where your feet sink down. We know where the bones are and the fruit trees.
What I Know Already
What’s up cowboy, Drunk Sal says to me and we look up to the same stupid star in the sky and I lift my foot to scratch a mosquito bite on the bottom. The air is hot and the hair on my leg is already back. Sal tells me he wants to make love to me, to kiss me all over. Please keep your cowboy hat on, he says, I like it so much. But I need to heal my chin, not love Sal up. A truck goes by on the highway and Sal lights up orange. He gets tired of it all after a while.
I look down from the patio onto Jim’s yard. Jim’s in his old army tent, it’s lit up yellow from the inside. He owns a house but sleeps outside to keep his apples company and to protect them from petty theft. I don’t know this for sure, I can only guess. The apples are special because they are all dying out heritage breeds. I don’t know Jim well but he shouts God be with you at me every morning when I bike by. So every morning I wave back to Jim and I imagine our holy father riding a bicycle next to me.
I touch my chin with the back of my hand. I’m healing my chin because yesterday I fell off the bike and hit my chin on the road. Traffic steered around me. Sal lifted under me. I stayed downstairs with a bag of frozen corn and the windows sealed. Jim waved through the window. His lips moved: God be with you. I wanted to say: if he only didn’t leave, he wouldn’t have to keep coming back! But I didn’t. He wouldn’t have heard anyway.
Drunk Sal closes the windows so the mosquitoes don’t get in. Then I hear him brush his teeth. Next door, an apple falls on Jim’s tent. A worm has gone in one side of Jim’s apple and out the other. The apple breed comes from former East Germany. For the apples, the wall hasn’t come down yet and never will. They are almost ready to be picked and full of sugar. Jim has switched off his lamp and is sleeping. He will only discover the fallen apple when he comes out of his tent in the morning. I don’t know if he’ll feel sad about it. It’s a small thing, and smaller things will happen too.
In the morning I will kiss Sal on both cheeks and go. Why does God take everything but ingrown hairs and mosquitoes? I’ll ask. Don’t be bitter, Sal will say, and he’ll cup my chin in his farmer hand. In the morning the grass will be have grown long, so Jim will cut a path from the kitchen to his tent. When he sees me, he’ll shut off the mower and open his mouth. Then he’ll close it again. He’ll know that I know already. I’ll bike to the station, holding my foot out to the sun.