I don’t know why, but I built a fire out back in the afternoon and stood by it. It got so cold one night a planting pot blew out the side and hung open like a cartoon mouth on a hinge, a puppet’s mouth. I walked in circles around the house, looking for abnormalities like that. Something was blooming back by the sports court like sweet, strong wine. The sunlight hits the tops of the trees though we can’t see when it sets, it’s implied. The house next door still abandoned, lost to auction two years now, the new owners still trying to tear it down and put up two new ones but haven’t started, can’t get it approved. A shed they built (the prior owners) on the edge of the property where the woman Suzie would keep her gardening tools. What wood they had drying along the side got picked over and now it’s gone. I never touched it. The other neighbors let the blackberries and morning glory vines thicken where our lots meet. A dilapidated shed with the roof caved in from a fallen cottonwood branch, probably where the coyotes live. Across the gravel road it’s a pack of guys in their early 30s, all of them with trucks, some with dogs. They rent from investors we only saw once, on the day they closed, slapping each other’s shoulders and smoking cigarettes, pleased with themselves. There’s only a half dozen lots on our street but the developers keep circling, trying to put in sewage lines and sidewalks, cul-de-sacs, all the paint tones on the homes a degree off from beige.
I built the fire and listened to it hiss and crack: not many sounds out here, for now.