Backyard On Hathaway




by Fred Dale

From his chair in the back room,
he sees the morning glories thread
through the fence, the oyster shells
mounded a step away.

There’s a clothesline, a black metal
framed hammock, a concrete bench
tilted to the ground, azaleas hosting
secrets. 

Various trees grow quietly: china ball,
oak and fig, an old cushion he knelt
on when caring for his tomatoes
and merletons, yearning. 

A picnic table rusts in the shade,
where we ate handfuls of barbecued
hot dogs wrapped in paper napkins.

The picture window in the back room,
surrounded by stoic, pine paneling,
has become a diorama to extend into
as shadows bug scratch up the wall.

His chair is gone. It’s a bed now, in
a place where his life will breathe out,
a teapot, signaling us he is ready.

A nun watches, letting her prayers fall
to him. She tells me, he’s calling
for his mother when he lifts his arm,
and she’s reaching out for him. 

We’re all there, nudging his younger
self, assuring him it’s okay.

The scene is fixed on all four corners.

FRED DALE, a native New Orleanian, is a husband to his wife, Valerie, and a father to his occasional jerk of a dog, Earl.  He is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Crack the SpineChiron Review, and others.

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Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.