Linda Street

Down a byway arbored by camphor trees
whose roots buckle sidewalks and gardens,
someone’s mowed the lawn of an empty
house that’s been for rent forever.

In the distance beyond it, the Palos Verdes
hills climb in the failing afternoon sun,
streetlamps the dim amber of signal fires,
or your woman’s hair, singing with light.

On your walk homeward, your mind
revisits the rooms of the last house
shared with her on Whidbey Island,
a place also losing light at this hour.

As you pass once more the untaken
house, the indelible ink of its bright red
door darkens in the opulent twilight
that steps slowly out of its rooms.

Jeffrey Alfier