That house where a year ago my daughter and that little girl
strung the just large enough tree with strings of beads
and papers with misspelled secrets written on them.

That house where drinks in the afternoon and sometimes
in the morning were what kept the confrontations tolerable.
(We heard there were holes in the drywall.)

The tree has been taken out; and the yard, which was always weeds,
now looks weedy. The girl is somewhere with her mother
who we hope drinks less. And we heard

the husband punched the life out of the grandfather clock,
but we haven’t been in there since that time the wife cured
her own bacon and we all made BLTs and sat in the backyard

while the girls chased the chickens around.
The long and short of it is that we don’t see
any of them anymore, just a car or two

not coming and going; only there or not there.

Zetetic separator

—Daniel Ari, poet laureate of Richmond, California, writes, publishes, performs and teaches. His most recent book is One Way to Ask, which combines his poems in an original form called queron with illustrations by 67 artists including Roz Chast, R. Crumb, Henrik Drescher, Bill Griffith, Wayne White, and his wife, Lauren Ari. The book won the Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award for Design. Daniel supports his poetry “career” with a career in copywriting, where he once wrote a set of more than 100 haiku for Google, Inc. For actual pay.

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