Full-tilt toward the center,
the sound she made as she breached
hibiscus petals from the bush in the garden hitting
the water, bitter tea, small stain.
You did not panic until you felt the bone the mangled skin and asked me
were you touching oak leaves?
Lobes and sinuses serrated and toothed dry-sharp in the heat the lump sum of your experience:
truly, truly, you were not wrong.
If the deck still stands before the dozer comes
under the kitchen window where the screen door once slammed
where you waited for help
where we called:
The whole yard smelled like pennies
us, genuflecting in the wet stain.
When the hose will not do
when the brush is not enough
us, we will step into and out of each day right through that spot
barely a pause as the hinge whines behind us in plea.
Jill Bergantz is a poet and artist living in Northern California. Her first full-length collection, ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL, is forthcoming from UnCollected Press in 2020. Her work recently appeared with Tupelo Press, 404 INK, Collective Unrest, and elsewhere. She tweets @jillbergantz.