Nightly, the smoke from the neighbor’s incinerator paws the air
in our garden. Black flecks of newspaper settle
across the violets. From the tip of a twig, a praying mantis
extends its lines, the green text of its body becoming an elegant,
indecipherable sentence, and with round green eyes looks out
over the grass. Trumpet flowers swell with mist. My mother crouches
in a white nightgown and cuts sprigs of parsley and mint.
She is addicted to downers, her mind a loom, its fabric the weather
of spring. The new leaves flicker like eyelids. Beneath the mailbox
wasps draw their plans for a nest—cloud-gray walls,
octagon hollows. It is their night as much as it is ours.
The dew on her feet. The shudder of their long, red wings.