blackbirdonline journalSpring 2009  Vol. 8  No. 1
print version


Elegy with a Chinese Checkerboard
An old man lifts a lime tree, ashes
fall from his cigarette like asterisks.

He doesn’t look up.
Our forms of bodies and strollers map

into the land. Cement steams against
stucco torsos and unblinking

blades of new sod. We are latched to this
landscape, where trees need

wooden sticks to stand straight, where workers
trim thistle on the trail,

each day working their way westward,
where fields are

aerated into a Chinese checkerboard,
plugs of brown dirt

lost like confetti, like something to
celebrate.  end