Long Gone

She feels the breeze on
her bare feet and leans back
to hold the sun against her neck.
Her hair is the color of sand
and is tied up with a band
as red as the frozen cocktail
in her hand.

The backyard flowers
are mostly dead, but
the ones that lived are drawing
from their sacrifice.
The sweetness of decay
is like a candy made of dirt
and rotting stems.

Out in the trees in somehow
unconnected dreams with
long guns on their shoulders
they stalk the turtles floating
in the pond. They see a lonely swan
biting at its feathers beneath a willow
drooping outward from the bank.
They let it live and watch it
until it flies away after it notices
their constant darting eyes.

On their hike back, they walk up
to a brush fire being tended in the open.
The old man tells the longest lies
about the size of all the fish
he ripped away from all the water
back behind them.
Still he had the most beautiful
daughter with the red band
in her hair, and they all stared
from past the fence posts
as she looked them over
through the space above
of her shades.

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