Where is the painting that used to hang
in the musty hallway of our first home?
Which dead president was immortalized
there in glimmering oils? How many gold
buttons marched down his uniform? Where
did planes land after the airport closed,
after the runway’s narrow lip jutted
into the ravine? I remember a gardener
named Jose, pretending to catch a roach
and pinch it between two slices of bread
at midday. We ran away then spent long
afternoons sliding through wild grass
in the foothills. Who can tell what hand
shook the only world we knew like castanets?
Their wooden clatter is like the sound
buildings make as they shatter into a fine
pebbly rain. Friday evenings, months after
a woman took her own life in our home,
a taxi would pull up at the gate, looking
for his passenger. Dragonflies skim
green surfaces of pond water. Five decades
after; and still, I don’t know why.