The Sacred in the Quotidian

Fall, 2005

Gene Berson


Chinese people have moved in behind us
they poured a thin concrete patio
over the dunes, put up a pole
for a line
between the house and fence.

They planted yellow daisies
(that glow in the foggy evenings)
marigolds, calla lilies and fuschias that dangle
red droplets for the hummingbirds. The woman

has carried a white plastic bucket of water
and scooping handfuls from it sprinkles
the plants.

Why doesn't she use the green hose?
She wears sandals and sweat pants
with a black top. She has worked hard
yet there is contentment in her movements --
picking up a few stray 2x4 blocks
dropping them with an echoing pop on the concrete
nearer the fence --

scooting off her sandals, going inside barefoot,
brushing her hair
from her eyes with her wrist, taking
a surveying look backward
before closing the
garage door.

The laundry sways gently at the edges. The wild mallow
nod, their purple blossoms translucent, an old wheelbarrow
orange, rusted inside against metal gleam
a white box full of weeds, a pot turned over . . .

the scene lies still, waiting: people
have moved in behind us
to make a home
for themselves.

I wish them peace and grace, knowing
what a fragile thing
that is to do.