January 8th, 2017

poetry, exceptindreams

Our First Five Days in the Country | Joan Murray

“Our First Five Days in the Country”
Joan Murray

Should we cut back the shrubs
so we can see the pond? I ask my husband.
No, he says, then the people who walk down our driveway
will see us. We’ll have no privacy when we
lie out in the yard reading Baudelaire.

Should we put up a rope to keep them out?
No, they’ll only steal the rope. These are country people—
they’re the ones who burn barns and poison wells
and drive off livestock in the middle of the night
—aren’t they already messing around with our lawn sculptures?

Should we explain to them that it’s our deeded property?
No, I have tried and tried. In the morning
they give me their country smiles, but by evening
they’re all down here from their huge acreage
in their Cherokee Laredos to walk their dogs.

Should we dig up the driveway so there’s no place for them to walk?
No, they’ll only dump their lawn clippings where it was,
and put up signs for kittens and Republicans,
and set up rows of white plastic tag-sale tables,
and hook up an 8-seater hot tub in our basement.

Should we pray to God? I have seen trees struck by lightning—
surely he is more powerful than they are?
Go to the basement door and switch on the light—
you’ll see they’re already there, and God’s
at the top of the stairs. He’s their lifeguard.