Killer Domestic: ‘Backyard’

September 16, 2013

Note: This poem is part of a larger project entitled Killer Domestic, an examination of the unusual and unfounded perils of suburbia.

Dad walks on stiff stained wood out back

Tracing dotted lines in his head like art class

As scant finches slowly drown their chirps

In brown-treed leaves. The summer has fewer words

Now than ever.


We help, mom and I, like wedding tailors

Help a rattled bride, holding pins and clips

To keep the cover fixed to the dripping sides of the pool.

Dad sees the angles but can’t make dock. The great

Pines behind see it all. Their ridged cone fruit

Begins to drop.


Back on walking wood. Dad starts to fold the

Solar cover into itself. The back windows drop, too

At a rush of silent swans, begin to fold themselves

Overhead and melt into a smoky sky. The sun

Behind the clouds like forest hills, the plastic

Subdued, us retreating inside soon fetching

Our armor and disappearing like the loons.


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