She sits at the kitchen table and looks right
Out the kitchen window at the tree moving.
Branches, leaves moving. That’s how she knows
What kind of day it is. The tree tells wind,
Rain, still heat, smothering snow. She will miss
The tree. How else to know the weather
Without watching TV or stepping outdoors
On the back porch her husband enclosed
But never finished making a real room.
She can do without the new apartment
She doesn’t own, her son and his wife own.
She owns this house; over all its memories
She presides as mother necessity, inventing
A way out of roadblocks and detours, obstacles
In a city that practices hope and deception,
Stumbling and dance steps.
She used to look out that kitchen window
Right at the gray stone church with its high spire
Until it became an abandoned eye-sore
And she prayed for it to be torn down.
It’s a parking lot now, a clear space
With a few buses that belong to a smaller
Church she doesn’t believe in—they don’t
Treat you like Christians. They’re white settlers
And we’re savages they’ve come to save
With turkeys, ham and tent revival music that knocks
Against the afternoon and evening.
The settlers called the police when her grandson parked
His car in that big, empty lot, said he was breaking in.
The police came like lightning, striking, handcuffed him,
Lean and clean-cut athlete. He showed i.d., told them
About her and how she lives in the house she owns
And has owned for over half a century. They let him go.
He went inside and told her. Then he went to bed.
Trembling with troubles. The way a tree does at certain times.