Fleshing-out the Season
By Yusef Komunyakaa
They said he lived in both houses.
That the black woman
Once worked as a maid
For his wife. The women
Sometimes met in town & talked
Like old friends, would hug & kiss
Before parting. They said
The man's father was a big-time
Politician in Jackson, Mississippi,
& owned a cotton gin,
& the Klan didn't dare hassle
Him. The black woman's house
Was a scaled-down replica
Of the other: both yards
A jungle of bougainvillea,
Azalea, & birds of paradise.
They said there's a picture
Of the three at Mardi Gras
Dancing in a circle of flambeaus.
In summer he always ate
Cones of raspberry ice cream,
& carried a fat ledger
From house to house. Alyce
Clover grew over his pathway.
He sent his white son to Vanderbilt,
The black one to Columbia.
He had read Blake aloud to them;
Pointed out Orion & Venus.
They said both women waited
To divide him. One sprinkled him
Over the Gulf of Mexico,
& the other put him under roots
Of pigweed beside the black gate --
Purple, amaranthine petals,
She wore in her hair on Sundays.
Wednesday we had an exciting thing happen! Our plumber came for our annual inspection and said our pipes looked pretty good! Well, except the downstairs sink, which has ongoing drip issues that would cost a lot to fix, and the tub in the kids' bathroom upstairs, ditto, but nothing was exploding so knock wood that's all good. In other words, not a lot that was exciting happened.
I did get some work done and watched this week's Voyager episode ("The Q and the Grey" -- not as sexy as Colbert's version last night), and in the late afternoon, since our whole neighborhood is in bloom, we went to see the azaleas at McCrillis Gardens. Evening TV included Nature's episode about beavers and this week's Nashville, in which as usual everyone behaved like a teenager!