Showing a Friend My Town
By Harry Humes
These are the switchbacks off the ridge,
the shack where an old man froze one winter.
This is the swamp where each spring small frogs
float up to the low branches of white birches.
This is the alley, the telephone pole
where a father put up a backboard and rim.
These are exploisions, sirens, cries from dirt cellars.
These are bats and nighthawks, this the old railroad
to the mine, these the lace curtains that caught
a Sunday afternoon breeze, here are basement steps,
the door with it broken latch to the backyard,
the path up to the shadows beneath the laurels.
These are mothers leaning in good evening weather
across porches, their voices like white sheets
almost dry on the line. These are windowsills
coated with dust from trucks up and down High Road,
water streaming from tailgates, blast of air horns.
These are tomato plants growing in coal ashm
this the double mock orange bush, this the sage
this the fox tail nailed to the pigeon cooop.
This is the empty chair beneath the maple.