(After Robert Lowell)
Malibu Colony’s newest widow
slow pours the bourbon in her frosted glass;
her blue eyes stare out at the bay.
Her son’s a lawyer in Century City,
Her daughter’s an actress in LA.
She lives in the past.
the Liquorama Thrifty
in her Mercedes Benz 450,
she starts to stall.
The neighbor’s house looms up,
she hits the wall.
There’s naught but fog—
we’ve seen some changes on our street,
they buy, tear down, then build a bigger
edifice. Our exclusive
realtor’s cards spring up in front.
Boys kill cranes in Watkins Bog.
And now the local
congressman hangs up his signs for fall,
his office filled with MBA’s,
young turks stride up and down the hall.
There is lots of glory in his work,
he’ll be a judge someday.
Last full moon,
my old Chevette quit on the freeway edge;
I waited for smash-ups, blinkers on.
The tail lights passed me, red on red,
where the merge lane narrowed and was gone.
The Auto Club was coming soon.
A siren screamed nearby,
Death, unholy Death its song.
I wrapped my shaking arms around me
as if to calm my anxious heart.
I strained my eyes to see—
it seemed too long.
The deer that forage
the hillsides for something to eat
must live by their wits near city streets.
Brown shapes, moving shadows dart
beyond the lilacs where the ivy parts
for the halogen street light.
At my doorway,
I pause to look up at the stars.
A stag with full antlers steps from the brush.
Stopping, he returns my stare,
caught in the evening’s hush,
but he does not stay.
Patricia L. Scruggs’ work can be seen in ONTHEBUS, Spillway, Rattle, CALYX, Cultural Weekly and qarrtsiluni, among others.