A banana falls from the sky,
lands loose and dented
at her feet on a hot sidewalk
before August has begun.

Sounds bleed into one another
on a Monday, like a child’s handwriting
that droops to the right,

each line more sloped
than the one preceding it.
The gutter does not terrify
this five-year-old.

Everything she loves
grows in the margins—wild
and entangled in the lost language

of the drum. Cattails that harbor
red-winged black bird nests
surround Loring Lake, designated
as the most urban one in Minnesota,

where you can canoe for free
on Wednesday evenings in August.
That a hole in the wooden deck

of a nearby pedestrian bridge
doesn’t cause anxiety
might mean her long-lost daughter
has always been her long-lost duende.

So what if you were right
all those years ago about the left
leg being shorter by a half centimeter?

Some game of low-level dueling
will always interrupt lifelong dreams.
Lead to the risk of late-life depression.
Translate into a series

of little lie-downs
that don’t add up
to one everlasting sleep.

And just maybe she won’t become A
is for Amy who fell
down the stairs. With a backpack
(lilting, long, and deep enough

to hold all her dirty laundry
and a few scraps of lost letters
and dignity) secured to her shoulders,

she’ll keep her balance
all the way down.
And if she does stumble,
a rope ladder, strategically hung

on the cellar door
by someone who looks like
you once did,

will appear at the last possible
moment. A handwoven lattice-lace
design remains imprinted
on closed eyes, not by choice.

And, finally, a dark August
Saturday morning arrives
with thunderstorms in the forecast.

“Rain, rain, please,”
she pleads,
“stick around long and loud
and dripping enough

to quench the garden’s thirst,
to coax Minnehaha Falls to begin
falling again.”

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