Poem by Edie Meade

December 15, 2023

The Haze

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.

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