My neighbor’s angry in her driveway. Bird droppings dot her windshield, and she faces the great difficulty of cleaning it off without soiling her hands and risking infection from the little white berry. Her son hunches in the car, trying to squeeze his body into his cellphone and live forever inside a text recording his feelings. Her husband insists they need a clean sweep. His plan, he confided one night over beers by the gas grill, involves living his passion by opening a seed bank on the west coast of Niihau. They would be the 170th plus persons on the island. Eventually, she speeds away to drop her son at school, then off to Macy’s, where she dresses mannequins to announce the newest fashions. Her husband’s hunched in the basement scouring Youtube videos about coconut propagation. I’m on the deck with a mug of black coffee and a complaining prostate trying to identify bird songs. So many people strain for nuance, sometimes we forget the basics. Struggling with my book of songs, I’m failing already. I can barely distinguish one finch from the next as they hop like grace notes from one bar of the feeder to another.
-- John Cullen graduated from SUNY Geneseo and worked in the entertainment business booking rock bands, a clown troupe, and an R-rated magician. Currently he teaches at Ferris State University and has had work published in American Journal of Poetry, The MacGuffin, Harpur Palate, North Dakota Quarterly and other journals. His chapbook, TOWN CRAZY, is available from Slipstream Press.