In This Electric City by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Here, where each street is named for Thomas Alva Edison,
there are men in each pane of our windows, stabbing
little flags into our assaulted lawn, marking where they will tear
up the grass to replace the subterranean power line, all at our expense.

Everything is opposite now. Instead of my husband, I sign
all the checks, lift the heavy packages, roll the chest-high rural garbage
cans to the curb and back.

The summer we met, he carried my little brother home
from the beach on his shoulders, our shadows
forming a curly-topped tower. 

He used to insist on walking closest to the street
so if a car jumped the sidewalk, it would get him and not me. 
Now I jog ahead in my Birkenstocks (good for bunions)
so he won’t run over my toes or bash my heels with his Rollator.

This morning, he thanked his long-dead mother
for sending us freshly baked kipferl,
her Viennese crescent cookies. He chewed air,
licked the vanilla sugar from his fingers.
American born, he has taken to pronouncing
his brother’s name with her accent.

A Halloween skeleton guards a koi pond.
“I have to protect my fish family
so herons won’t eat them,” our burly neighbor explains.

It seems another lifetime since my husband stood beside me
at the birthing table, easing my cracked lips with chipped ice,
commanding me to push, push.

Inside, light flickers, séance-like.

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