In Those Months Gold Leaf Drifted on to His Skin

by Marsha De La O

Marsha De La O

Late nights, late nights, rain fingered his guitar,
He played bars every weekend, trained dogs
on the side, dreamed an orchard out back,
white peaches, dark plums.
Once he made a barbecue
from a fifty-gallon drum, simmered mussels
in wine.
Late nights, late nights,
talking through winter, his laugh turned to velvet
when the temperature dropped.

Scorpion on his bicep, at his heels an Alsatian.
All through summer his garden spoke in tongues,
stone fruit, dark plums.
The day they told him no,
not a chance for a transplant, he took a whisk
broom to the cemetery, swept his father's grave.

Dark nights, dark nights, rain pierced his eyes.
When the Feather River overtopped its banks
he finally got down
to the slow work of drowning.

Last updated November 25, 2022