The Streets Are Lizardy Crevices
The road to the house where you live winds up
and down hills until it drops off
to two adobes built by the same contractor,
yours the one originally for himself.
Street-side is nondescript, which is what you wanted,
door and walk hidden by a too-tall spruce,
Russian sage and rabbit brush. A garage stretches
across the rest.
A man-made stream runs under the front window
that would look onto Pikes Peak
if you could see through the thick branches
that long ago knocked down the birdhouse in a wind.
Lizards took up residence in the shelter where water
was pumped for the stream down to a pool
deep enough for soaking at sunset.
You prefer the lizards to a desert tub.
Behind the door is your art leaning against the walls,
leather couches, a kitchen table made from scraps
still with paint attached, and a view
onto the Spanish Peaks and Wet Mountains.
In winter, the lizards find their way into the basement,
sun themselves on cloth panels
against sliding doors. I put out saucers of water
for them, plenty of spiders to eat.
None have ever made it through the winter.
This year, we hope you will with the same devotion
bestowed on your desert creatures,
your room with hospital bed one floor above.
Named for a Jazz Singer
Your mother takes you out to nightclubs
before you are born
taps fingers on her belly
and you think the rhythms
slightly behind the horn’s 3/4 phrasing
you’ll use in the descent
into blue tones of fluorescent lights
that sputter and spit like her voice
as she calls to you
coming feet first down the hall
ready to kick as if in a chorus line
only there are no arms to link
so you spread your limbs
in a modern dance of Martha Graham
until percussion joins horn
and you’re on your way out the door
a long way home at 2 a.m.
trolleys no longer running
cabs all congregated
on the safe side of the street
where you will never stroll
because you were born to jazz
and knew its progressions
before you could walk.
Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence coauthored with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Net, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.