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Restrictions

June 12, 2008

The lawn is lemon-yellow, a knee of the house,
not scraped but sunburnt, tight. No words can
recall its Florida winter, those choices between
cold and wet. I don’t care if I get fined, my
mother says, and puts her finger to the mouth of
the hose to fan the hot water over her collection
of spider plants.

At night I can hear the crickets watching me,
posed weightless on the leaves. They do not
breathe, nor do I, nor do we sleep. The back yard
holds its breath, silent, not hot, but dark.

The brass rim of the hose burns my thigh, leaves
a pink welt, like a kiss. I want to hold it over my
head and let it flow down my neck, down my
shirt, but I am afraid. I feel the hose stiffen. With
just one squeeze from my hand, it would burst.

The umbrella tree loses its leaves first, the yard
is littered with its beached canoes. Then the
palms. My mother pulls the oranged fronds from
the crowded trunk, her brown shoulders growing
large and square. I don’t know how much longer
I can take this,
she says, drinking from the hose,
which she’s left running all morning, the water
pooling around her ankles.

by Celia Lisset Alvarez

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  1. Elizabeth
    June 14, 2008 at 9:02 am

    At night I can hear the crickets watching me,
    posed weightless on the leaves. They do not
    breathe, nor do I, nor do we sleep. The back yard
    holds its breath, silent, not hot, but dark.

    This is so beautiful!

  2. Mary Ellen Vasquez
    June 16, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    “The umbrella tree loses its leaves first, the yard
    is littered with its beached canoes.”

    Celia, I thought the beached canoes was very creative, and I could see the little brown curled canoes in my mind.
    I really enjoyed the poem … thanks for sharing it and keep up the good work.

  3. meg
    June 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I like this poem, it is very evocative and lovely.

  4. Celia
    June 16, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks, everyone. I’m happy you enjoyed the poem!

  5. June 19, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Very nice. So rich and sensual.

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