We didn't have much in that backyard of ours
but we had shade.
Until we didn't.

The landlord,
He raised our rent
and cut down the trees
Right around the same time.

Without those redwoods
we have sun and have had heat.

Without those redwoods,
We have a clear view of
what our next door neighbor is up to.

We were left with one thing,
I guess, besides the mess.
We were left with all that wood.

The landlord,
He says he's going to post it on craigslist.
He calls the mess he's made
"free firewood"
and hopes somebody else will take care of it.

The landlord,
He wants to know when we'll be home–the one that he owns–
so we can meet the strangers he thinks will pick it up,
and take it all away.

I said, Hold up. Wait one minute.
Please don't do that.
I'll take it, I suggest,
Or know someone who will.

No, we don't have a fireplace.
Nor axe nor maul.
Is a splitter the same thing? I even wonder.

I don't know nor have the right tool for this situation.
But I'm hoping the wood remains
As long as we do,
unspilt but cut up like pepperonis,
Because I miss these trees
We used to have in our backyard
And the shade they'd provide.


I did not respond to your email,

I got it. I think.
Because why else would I remember this?

Anyway, I'll have to get back to you.

I wasn't listening when
you were talking.

I  heard you but
I was also on my phone.

Thinking about
someone else,
somewhere else.

I was in another
time and place.

I was talking when
you were talking
to me.

How can I listen
when I'm talking --
I mean really listen --
to you?

I can't.


She ties up her dog to the dangling phonebook at the pay phone and goes inside the market on Belmont across 34th from the Stumptown. The dog owner comes out of the market with a light teal pack of AmSpirs. No, wait they're Camels – not American Spirits. She packs them, a sign she hasn't been a smoker for some time, or is young or both. And away she goes – dog in tow.