The Almost-Perfect Lazy Visit

By KERRY JAMES EVANS 

Finally, we sleep well, where the walls lean

with a drunk’s articulation. We wake

to homemade apple pies and hot cocoa.

We talk through a day of Rummy and three

chiming clocks, while Grandma zips through the garden

like a dirt dauber, picking tomatoes for lunch.

Last month she slid under the house

to repair the plumbing, and after fitting a pipe,

then scrapping with a copperhead: wrench

in one hand, pliers in the other, she

changed out her ‘98 Mercury’s alternator.

Same tools. Same day. I can hear the ladies’

auxiliary now: Whatever happened 

to Chesteen McCollum? Well, I heard she 

crawled under the house and it was so cool 

in the shade, she decided to stay. Things change.

There’s a dime in my old piggy bank,

the fireplace burns gas, and, behind the door,

two porcelain cats play peek-a-boo.

They stare into a glassy-eyed oblivion,

while I scarf down a bowl of red beans and rice,

but I’m filled beyond my unbuckled belt,

when I snore beneath the wagon wheel

and dream among lazy tête-à-têtes and

the shuffling of cards. I’m a birdie

flying over a net, weightless with a red nose,

the lawn a cluster of yellow clumps

stitched with pine straw and littered with ant beds.

The ceiling fan hums like a cherry tree

losing blossoms, and I can almost feel

the clocks slowing down. In the dream I bolt

through doors, looking for a brass pillar

to stake my future. I’m like an oilman

discovering Texas, but too soon, it ends,

and I wake to a house with drawn curtains,

where light pours through windows like well water

from a spigot in spring. Like pickles

suspended in a giant jar of vinegar,

the room comes into view, each person

bobbing in and out of consciousness,

like subway cars tunneling from stop

to stop, the doors opening after a Ding!

and each of us, like people in other towns,

mosey for a day, and we are thankful

to leave like dust bunnies on loops of air.

 

Kerry James Evans is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon).

Photo by Selena N. B. H.

The Almost-Perfect Lazy Visit

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