Tending Garden at Twilight

Hetty moves under foot, tries to pick up eggshells dropped under tomato vine. She stops to chew on lemon balm which lines the back of the bed. And lemon balm spreads by flower, not by root like mint. I pick her up, escort her out, take back the eggshell she holds in her mouth, close the gate behind. She paces the lavender-lined walk, smarts over lost bounty. My neighbor, Nicole, moves as if a Tom Waits love song plays, watches from her second floor deck. She waits for the new boyfriend with the new moon in the sky. I can feel her eyes, a bewilderment at watching a man dancing around tomato plants, balancing a small dog, carrying broken eggs. Across from her, our windows twin, and if left open, the view and the sound render us starkly naked to the other. The road sits above the drive and creates a kind of whisper chamber. Sometimes, it’s as if she’s in the room with me, though always at the parting.

First published in PIVOT Literature, and included in Demolition in the Tropics (2019 Seven Kitchens Press)