Missouri City Garden

                       (a poem by David E. Manuel)


        Oh, it's hot;
        Grass dry and brown.
        The flowers disappeared long
        Ago—petals shriveled to nothing.
        Scrawny trees starved by sandy
        Soil provide no shade; I feel my
        Own sweat like molasses.

        Where is the great‑
        Grandfather, planted that pathetic
        Magnolia; the distant uncle,
        Swabbed decks on the Maine and
        Is not remembered; Aunt Estelle, never
        Married, with her herb tea and
        Tomato aspic?

        I search for them
        Here, seek continuity
        In the heat, but I
        Discover only a single
        Mockingbird,
         
             "Caw!  Caw!"

        In this garden of neglect.

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