Leafy branches show black against a pale blue sky.

Walk into chill of July dark
damp ground-breath
wafts across bare skin,
skin hot from sleep.

Street light slashes garden with white.
From the laundromat a yellow bath.
Gold spot: John’s yard lamp.

Under morning star
white flowers grasp light, gleam
out of dim foliage
above deep shadow.

My face a white flower
turned to high black spruce boughs,
scanning for dawn of
a pale waning crescent.

Stepping through the dark,
looking for clear sky.
The back gate creaks
as I rest my arms.

And there she is, hanging unmoving
in bluegray sky, drawing in her horns
as she fades.

Venus high above electrical wires
small and bright.

Sky slowly brightens pale green at horizon.
Cloud comes into being, a
wispy pink nod to the mimosa flowers
still in shadow.

The white sliver becomes a fleck.
I think of cup dregs, a sink draining.

Cicada says its name relentlessly.
Tiny cheeping seven times
two ringing notes and thirteen chortles
descending to silence
ring again, descend.
A chirrrr cascades, stops, starts again.
A steady low hard cry cry cry cry.

Little sparrow’s first winging flutters across
dim space between holly branches.
Or was that a bat's last sweep?

Interstate roar comes from the south.
Busy day begins.

Low beyond the dark mass of
the playground tree, dense in leaf,
orange points glare. Not street lights.
Higher in the branches the points are gold.

Sky suddenly blue
though veiled with grey in west.
Morning star lost in white cloud.
White shard of Moon dissolves.
Flowers settle white faces.

Stroll back to the house.
Yellow glow on a windowsill.
Turn back to the trees.
Gold circle shines in the leaves.

Welcome to my garden

I call this slice of city block my garden, but my friend refers to it as a bowling alley.

Twenty feet wide — just a bit wider than the house — and sixty feet long, it’s a plethora of flowers, shrubs, and trees bisected by a straight concrete sidewalk that leads to the garage at the back of the lot.

It’s squashed between long and narrow backyards on each side, where low fences encourage conversation or a wave as a neighbor heads to her car.

At dawn or dusk, though, this bit of nature is a different place.