A lot of trees were blown down by the hurricane last year
and it turned out the mailman was leaving half his penny-savers
in the gutter sheet.
I knew which one it was—
with the lean face and shaggy hair under his ball cap like a neck cloth.
I thought it would be a piece of forensic eloquence
to pile them up in the cleft
between the stone wall and the mulberry tree
and show him you can't cut corners and go uncontradicted.
I put on an old pair of black-rimmed glasses and
for a while anything brought me running to the window
but eventually summer came with some blue scrawls
the air was soft and there was a girl in a straw hat who
came down the hill with a lawn chair.
I told her that I had reached my acme at thirty-five,
that I no longer went in for things like material domination.
We listened to some records: Bob Seger and the Motor City Sound,
Sopwith Camel, Grand Funk
and she told me about the morning she was born,
body anemic and red,
regret already filing down her backbone.
I didn't want to be another one of those seaside girls, she said,
the pug-nosed ones serving nachos and Devil Dogs.
You know who I mean.