Hot 5th of July

by Philip Booth

A housepainter ladder'd up
on a white clapboard house.
Out on the street, across
the lawn from its Toro rider,
a T-shirt kid, scrawny, maybe
thirteen or eleven, parked
in the rusted-out box
of an old Dodge Ram. Must
be his boy, maybe serving
a sentence. Or not all there.
Hard to know. Hunched up on
the wheelwell, his body slumps,
his eyes scan nothing. He
sits there, hot hot hot, all
morning, diddling a piece
of trash from the box, then
sticking his mid-finger up
his nose. Head bent, no cap,
waterjar empty or never
filled, he slumps there, beyond
choice or prospect. Only
wishing, one of these times,
his old man might get down,
let him out, let go,
let him scream the Toro
around the scorched lawn.

Last updated December 19, 2022