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Dispatch From the Suburbs


I have been making apple scones

For a friend who died

Doug, my neighbor, whose last name

I don’t know


In winter, Doug came to plow with his tractor

When the snow drifts were 12 feet high

And last fall he helped clear branches from trees

That the electric company took down

And left piled high on the hydrant


You might think he was odd

Always wore shorts, even in winter

And flannel shirts

And drove a pick-up

And hated Obama

And paying taxes.


Summer, he brought us tomatoes from his garden

That he tended with obsessive love

And a diet of chicken manure

Long zucchini, eggplant and peppers


I am home because I have a grant to support my artistic habit

Not a government grant,

But from a private agency

Perhaps Doug would approve

It’s not taxpayers money in my checking account

Funding scone baking and play writing


That cold autumn

He dragged away branches that had entombed

The neighborhood hydrant.

As a gesture of non-partisan thanks

I made scones

With the fruit from our

Overgrown and untended trees, that still bore tart firm apples

Just right for baking


He ate them. He loved them.

He asked me to teach him to salsa dance

But I never did.

I was embarrassed. My dancing isn’t that good.

I wish that I had put his hand on my hip

And swayed to the wind

In the apple trees.