Latham St., San Rafael, 1993

by Emily Alexander

Along the back side of a house
in California, the yard is green and wild
with weeds and my parents are young
enough to fool themselves into love or something

it might stem from. They call to each other
from different rooms, their names like held
things, despite the shifting warmth of June,
the breeze sifting through screened windows—

that rooted feeling of belonging
to a voice if only for this
moment. Years from now, they might wonder
if they misheard, missed something

hidden in these mouths or lost in the dandelions
spreading and sprouting in the yard. They
might wonder if they ever were
as large as they thought. But small

or not, in California my father reaches out
to unearth a loose thread from my mother’s
shirt, and none of this is a mistake
yet, none of this is a mistake ever. Before

the drought, before me, before the leaves separate
from their trees, my parents swallow sunlight,
waste long days. Forget
to water the grass, watch it grow anyway.