Taking the rear exit of my apartment building
I found a bamboo cane, thumb thick, leaned against
a brick wall, next to a 50 gallon trash can.
I picked it up and saw a retail sticker on the side
that someone had tried to remove but gave up on.
I leaned against the same brick wall and wondered
who had used it. A student who walked with a limp.
An old man with one leg shorter than the other.
Maybe it was just a prop for a Halloween Costume.
It made me think of the photo of you framed in my hallway.
You were slightly hunched over, almost off balance, as if
there were a dumbbell in your beehive. Your ankles were
swollen and the dress you wore reminded me of the couch
a kid I went to high school with slept on down in his
parents' basement. You had a string of pearls around
your neck someone could jump rope with. Standing
in the shade with your family, there's a reflection
of the tree you're under in a window behind you
and it is almost like I am staring into another reality;
one that would ripple if you touched it. One which
is permanently dusk, where I watch our family
members die like house plants. Then I
realize, that reality
is really this