Civil Twilight

A thirty-minute measure
of time to get it done.
She must pave the road from town center 

to rain puddle is a swimming hole
for her imaginary neighborhood. It’s time
to get it done. Their world, her creation,
is a cul-de-sac 

of beach sand transported
by huge mechanical shovels, not
the wind.  It’s time, before
she can no longer tell the difference 

between the road and ditch,
to get it done.  Why play
out here, her mother has asked,
when the ocean is just up the path 

continuously slowly
hazarding the screened-in front
porch. But her mother just doesn’t get it.
It’s time, here in the back, to get it done. It’s not 

about match box cars with real working door hinges
and tiny treaded tires. Any doll
she owns would be out of scale.
So the people of the neighborhood are invisible, 

but no less in need
of roadways, driveways, articulated floor plans
for their homes.  From where they live, she can’t see
East Chop or West Chop Light. But she can almost hear 

the salt rumble on, miniature bay wave
tucking into itself. What gets trapped
in the air might preserve the village, or
it might rain. She doesn’t take chances—it’s time to get it done
before the bare red bulb lights up the back porch.

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