Wednesday, January 18, 2017

five albina ave octets


golden bamboo leans forward in fluted urn
planters outside the adult day care as snow

swirls; maroon stucco walls, beige awning shades three
windows; down the street, rosemary profusion

& a black garage door; spurge leaves shrinks inward,
garden bench dusted with snow & long vacant—

fistfuls of firethorn clusters overhang this
black iron gate’s illegible graffiti


snow outlines hens & chicks between lava stones;
a single gold thread cypress nearby, branches

weeping trajectory; under slim bamboo
a slant corrugated shelters outdoor

tables no one is using; yellow bike locked
by the bus stop, empty green sparkling water

bottle laid on the sidewalk as though with care:
gray stone walkway turned white except for dark seams


chain link slats graffitied with a repeating
character & an apostrophe; inside, three

doors, paint flaked & joints separating, lean up
against barbed wire strands; a blue tarp billows but

what it covers is unknown unlike boxwood
rising green by the rolling gate; parking lot

up the street empty & white except the one
silver car & the storm drain’s black striations


herb garden held in a galvanized planter
painted white to match the brickwork, now snow glazed:

lemon balm’s chartreuse heart leaves, trailing ivy,
parsley & summer savory, out of place—

winter’s ten thousand fish teeth bite in the wind—
slatted bench bolted to the wall surrounded

by footprints; past the glass door a matching
planter shows its red Chinese lantern fruit husks



across the street from the tattoo parlor’s red
entrance, the pale, dormant seven-son flower;

no cars disturb new snow in the lot beyond
the pickets decorated with kids’ paintings,

polka dots, handprints, blossoms; by wooden steps,
two sentinel cement bantams are waiting—

on the white lawn a lone glass lantern either
fallen from the leafless sapling or the sky

Jack Hayes
© 2017

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