California Rectangle

Jennifer Liberts Weinberg

Where my grandmother

folds herself

into an aluminum lawn chair,

yellow flowered housedress,

her legs a tiny map

of Eastern Europe.


And the dog a prickly weed

stuck to her hip.


Where the humpback

of the big hill

breaches the terrible sky

and the boy throws garden snails

against concrete.


Where the kidney shaped cloud.

Where the slap of monkey flower


one live oak. 


Somewhere hamburgers.


And my uncle at the window



Wild Turkey

Teeth a stab

of cigarette butts.


Where my grandmother

falls asleep,

thread of spit


her mouth closed.

White hair a slick

of Vaseline,

the smell of boiled

potatoes, rutabaga,

steamed green beans.


Where the backyard

is a blind hem.

A sexy second cousin.

And my grandmother’s

voice is the violet stitching

of a bird’s wings.


The neighbor’s backyard

a perfect

California rectangle,

neat as a spinach


Only the pool


is blue and I swim

there every summer

with the Olson boy,

and wonder how his glass

eye might feel

in my mouth, rolling about

on my tongue.


I imagine the things it sees

from the orbit

of his skull.

I want it to see

something beautiful,


like the snail does

as it flies, headlong:

Wind bend

Tree limb

Blue switch

Mint roots