Plates clatter as I pull them out in clumps
from the dishwasher. Between the clashes
the bounce, bounce, bounce of a rubber ball
against the wall in the living room. A riff
of piano jazz floats high, then wallows deeper,
struck with dissonant chords. The compost overflows:
drooping Gerber daisies, bristly asparagus tips,
pumpkin innards, so I open the back door,
step outside arms full and am caught by
the still breath. I tread carefully on the carpet
of stellate leaves, crimson tempered with dusk.
A few last, dry stars cling to the cleansed maple.
The outdoor table is covered, and the chairs
rest at slants or sleep.
Joanna Brown is a writer and community health physician living in Providence, Rhode Island, with her spouse and two sons. She has published poetry in bird’s thumb, Earth’s Daughters, Emerge Literary Journal (where she received a contest honorable mention), Angels Flight, and City & Sea, among others. Her nonfiction prose has been aired on Rhode Island Public Radio and published in local newspapers. She has co-organized two local readings called “Poets Resist.”