Dispatch From the Suburbs
Melinda Lopez is the Playwright-in-Residence at the Huntington Theatre Company through the National Playwright Residency Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Find out more about her residency experience here, and learn about the impact of the program at large here.
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.