Song of the Suburbs

Our houses are decaying    plants wait to take control         no they don’t wait     they ceaseless

send their rootlings along the soil’s pathways     wheedling      their limbs unwind               across

blank         space                      filling up with light                 blocking the light


Meanwhile in the East        snow presses its heavy breast     against the eaves of a ranch house

the gutters tear away         sheets of packed ice lance   to the ground         watch out!


Our neighborhoods erode       woodpeckers drill utility poles

      kerkerkerkerkerkerkerkerker       how do they move their heads

so fast we wonder      but they do           holes accumulate

      a lacework        someday they’ll topple          and then            

kablammo         no more power  


Oak roots down below         thrust up        concrete sidewalks         bust up        Maintenance!       Maintenance!

someone call the city          the sidewalk’s all ajumble


And the freeways oh the freeways are a mess

       just look at all the new holes      every time it rains

             the veritable earth      dropping    out      pulling     away           the asphalt     withdrawing

        Never mind never mind          we’ll shelter in our houses         until we can no more


Author: Christine Holland Cummings

Christine Holland Cummings lives in Menlo Park, California with her husband and dog, where she has turned her small suburban plot into a native plant wildlife habitat. Her poems have appeared in Bellowing Ark, Blueline, Hamilton Stone Review, Manzanita Quarterly, The Sand Hill Review, Blue Arc, Dark Matter: Women Witnessing, an anthology of California poets from Tebot Bach Press, and a poetry anthology about loss of companion animals titled Our Last Walk

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