How Much?, a poem by Michael Channing

How Much?
Trilogy of Petals part three

by Michael Channing

i was playing in the yard when the man in the blue car
pulled into the drive and through the window asked
to buy my granny’s trees
it rattled my young brain to think of anyone buying
only the trees
it would be like buying just one wall of a house
but because a grownup told me to do it i ran to the door
and let granny know he was here and what he wanted
she stared at him and my heart held its breath
i knew adults sold things my father sold my bike
my computer the atari many times i’d come home
to find an empty space in the dust
my mother bought them back but i knew how easily
something you loved could be sold away to someone
undeserving by someone who didn’t love you
the shade of those trees stretching across the ground
a full day of revolution in the dirt
bees and cardinals ants and crickets
my popsicle companions
petals falling like snow in april
the weave of color that heaves up over the hill
like flags of a safe and welcoming country
could all be exchanged for a check and dug up and hauled off
to some other house that didn’t even
have a lapful of dogs i knew by name
or a fridge full of kool-aid adults never touched
nothing was safe
nothing was safe
no thank you granny said and that was that
the blue car pulled away and granny pulled me inside
to let the door close
i drank my sugar and gathered doggie kisses

through the window the billowing trees
high on alert for thieves

Lost and Disillusioned

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing

April 24, 2020