Midday. Wasps wobble around orange bell-shaped flowers. A hummingbird buzzes, camouflaged, in the hedge.
Overhead, a dragonfly weaves out of and into the blue of the sky, urgent, in every direction.
I watch, squinting, from under the brim of my hat. The straw one with the wide brim and the brown suede band that’s stained from the pool in May. I would dunk it again if there was water nearby.
The dragonfly zips out of view, returning a moment later to resume its work. Around and around and back, tracing some secret, sacred pattern.
A small yellow flapping draws my eyes. It takes a butterfly to see the moon. Upside down in the west, it sits like a subtle smile above the flat blue glimpse of sea that’s too far from the sun yet to sparkle.
I don’t know the moon but it seems content. I wonder what color sky it likes best.
Above, the dragonfly disappears again. Returns. I look for the butterfly but it’s gone.
Then Rocket finishes peeing. He trots back down the walkway, proud, his curly ears bouncing. I follow.
When we get inside, it is too dark now for me to see.
the moon floats low in the waking sky
pale and round and weightless, it fades
a woodpecker chases a crow, startles a sparrow, returns to its tap-tap-tap
the air is so cold it makes my ears ache; my hands, in their gloves, barely bend
I watch as the moon slowly loses itself to the blue day
thirty-one crows on a line. a cacophony of crows, cawing at each other, bouncing up and down, flapping their wings.
a single dandelion growing out of the grass. I walk past it, and then walk back. pluck it. blow wishes into the weak morning light. I worry the stem between my fingers until it wilts, folding in on itself, then I put it in my pocket. somewhere, a dove calls.
the garish blue house with the red cutout heart has a new yellow flag hung above their old sign. in between the two is an empty lending library. I throw my bag of dog poop in their trash.
around again to the jacaranda tree. my twig at the base, after more than a year, is gone. I set the spent dandelion stem in its place.
sprinklers start, gurgling muddy water that doesn’t reach the plants but thoroughly soaks the pavement. I notice a trail of dried blood on the sidewalk, tiny drips leading up the street, some smudged, some in pristine splatter stars. the trail runs the length of two houses, three, before mixing in with the wet smudges of dark red leaves and becoming indecipherable.
I feel a sudden urge to be home. home in my forest of green leaves, sprouting new even in winter. home with the holes I drilled on the wall, staring at me with uneven eyes. home with the cricket sleeping under the fridge, who awakens in the afternoon to converse with the clicking of the clock.
I walk faster.
Last night I dreamed of twilight. The sky was a deep, secretive blue fading down into ochre and rust.
We were standing on a dock. There was a narrow lake before us, and a steamboat about to set off. I wanted to see the colors reflected from out on the lake, so we hopped aboard.
There were many passengers, far more than we’d seen from the dock, crowded together body to body. We got separated. I found myself below deck, winding through the tiny tunneled hallways. It was hazy and dim down there, the air thick with fog or steam.
When I returned to the deck, there was no land in sight. Water stretched out on all sides, reflecting back the unchanged sky. The sky was not going to change. I knew this, inherently, the same way I knew that we would not be going back. We were stuck there, on the water, in the twilight I had chosen. Panic pulsed through me, tinged with regret.
I slept for ten hours.
It was a beautiful sunrise, I was told. Fire orange and red and pink, the clouds folding upon each other in dramatic layers. Stuck in the twilight, I missed it. When I woke up, it was gray.
all around me, men on rooftops. on the gray slate dome there, a man in a hoodie squats. I can’t see what he’s doing. below him, in a glassless window, another swipes his arm back and forth across a wall.
two in hats on the flat white across the way. the roof sunbathes with the ocean in its eyes while they spray it down with something. next door to that, they’ve jackhammered the stone off the pillars and vanished into the black-sheeted cavern within.
all along the block, men on rooftops. their tools hum and clatter and buzz like a sharp metal swarm of insects. the waves break far below. birds fly past at eye level, bickering.
once, there was a butterfly up this high. it wobbled down from the roof, drunken, into my view, then swept up and out of it, never to return.
time passes in the blink of a lidless eye. the men on the rooftops work, and they work, and they work. I try to, and fail, and watch them instead. all of these windows, a beauty and a curse.