Outside of the sliding glass door, a backyard golden just now in this evening light. November fall. Leaves still on our apple tree though the others are shedding their clothes finally — at first, tentatively, but then tenaciously; hungry to be naked to the world. The lawn is mostly detritus in sloppy drifts, sparrows flirting in the newly empty branches above. No sting in the air, not yet. At least not the sting of fall.
The graffiti on the walls of the apartment complex is being whitewashed. “Fuck You,” “Steve is a homo,” “ICP” disappearing under the roller of the itinerant workers. They laugh in Spanish. This is translation, all of the words fading into the wall, the song of their voices drifting up past us in lulling waves.
It is warm enough that the kids are still wearing shorts though their hoodies are zipped with the hoods so far up that their faces are smothered in shadow; the mysterious lords of the bike path. They kick a varied and beautiful collection of garbage into the tall brown grasses on either side. Their essential cigarettes trailing tendrils of white from their fingers though they never seem to pull them to their mouths. Two girls sit texting their friends, the backs of their jackets resting lightly against each other. They laugh in turns, but say nothing aloud. The squirrels chase each other. The cats watch through the glass, only half interested.
For once, the wind chimes are silent and barely listless. The sandboxes and water tables full now with withering husks. Two planes cross overhead and their trails stay there for what feels like a lifetime — an X left as a remnant. On days like today, I can almost believe that you’re still alive. It passes, though, and I am back here — back to being an observer. The breeze occasionally shivers slightly over the leaves. A ghostly tingle — what is left of you. The lilting, hurried Spanish returns over the catcalls of the young shadow lords and the queens of text. The wind chimes come to life for a moment. The distant rush of the airlines overhead. This music of your passing, Its measured tempo, its forgetful tones. I say nothing. I’ve found it’s easier that way — to listen and to ignore. I know you will come, you will pass, and I will be here again — alone. A half stunned cat sunning itself in the glare of the world. The world as it is now.
First published in Word Riot
C.C. Russell has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction here and there across the web and in print. You can find his words in such places as Split Lip Magazine, The Colorado Review, and the anthology Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone. He currently resides in Wyoming where he sometimes stares at the mountains when he should be writing. More of his work can be found at ccrussell.net