Poem by Edie Meade
We walk early to find colors, ahead of the haze all the green goes dusty. Bricks blanch & wobble. Blue the boys’ favorite shade of siding, flower, sky. Each morning we crayon observations into our journals & recite to Daddy at dinner. Russet is a new word. Like rust, I say & they say. It’s science. Is it vain, in vain, to make poetry of our time, plucking something profound from the day so much chickweed in the sidewalk. It’s a bad air day, smoky & furnace fierce. The boys leap shade to shade, shedding sweat-slicked flipflops every couple of feet. Even the live oaks retreat into the wells of their trunks. The city goes country quiet, country calamitous. Vultures wheel. Somebody’s chickens have taken to the streets. Anything could happen in a nothing like this. At the corner, volunteer cherry tomatoes blush up in a matted garden nobody has tended for years. Magnolias guard the lavender slate mansion I always wanted. We almost bought it but it was too much work. Its door is open, darkness nettled with insects a dangerous invitation, run-in with an old flame. I cannot wait to talk about it at dinner. What ifs. Could have beens. The boys yank torches of lantana from under white butterflies then explosions of scarlet beebalm. An emerald hummingbird crown shimmers & disappears. The boys cower. Was it a beetle, will it hurt. They have only seen one other iridescent creature & it pinched their fingers. I try to explain the word iridescent. So many in-between almosts. Oil-puddle rainbows ugly beauty opposite-composite lavenders, russets, tomatoes green & orange at the same time. To teach contradiction, dying in the living, beautiful ruins. I don’t know how to write a poem more profound than a hummingbird. Urban wilds we’re lucky to witness, that’s all. We take a break to work in the peppercorned shade of a myrtle. The boys scribble aggressive tangles of gray. All their blues nubby from love & landscape lay untouched. Are you drawing the mansion, I ask do you know the word for that dusky pale purple. Do you know how to make it. But no. It’s a bad air day & they draw the haze.
About Edie Meade
Edie Meade is a writer, artist, and musician in Petersburg, VA. Recent and forthcoming work can be found in Invisible City, The Harvard Advocate, JMWW, New Flash Fiction Review, Atlas & Alice, The Normal School, Pidgeonholes, Litro, Heavy Feather Review, and elsewhere.