Backyard and the Twilight


The hills fold in creases of green and gold like a quilt flung loosely between the valley of a nap and a sun-streaked couch. They roll forever, or just past the horizon, whichever comes first, and what they do there is nobody’s business but their own. They are alive with songs that go mostly unheard, and the trees spin softly upon them. I am moving quickly through the hillside, and we all know what I am missing.

I spent the afternoon sitting by a window. The air filled with flurries of dust and the creek flowed with imagination. My wife stood on the shore of our yard and threw old vegetables into the waveless wonder. They hit the stones with a splash, opening against the rocks like a flower for the morning, except that they would be gone by then, and something furry would hop away slightly fatter. The window frame braced itself with stoic sameness, and the picture blurred beneath brushstrokes of darkness.

The boys were worn from seeing hills as invitations and windows as things to look in. They sprawled across the spring-spoked sofa, each uncomfortable bend of metal a memory of feet falling from air, and they pulled the old quilt between the hollow of their knees as their mother sang softly from the kitchen.

I sat just outside the picture, waiting for the paint to dry.

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