we can’t recall the species
only the date, our nation’s birthday.

we extended our legs over
the open veranda while
a ring of acquaintance smoked
passing the paraphernalia
on the grass below

it started swooping, a speck.
enlarging and blurring in the exhales
without words she pointed, but
few tracked the spread wings.
the determination.
the crunch against the window.

heads turned slow, first to the
smudge and then… to the brick
between our patio chairs.
the lump.

our eyes shook hands with each other
before unlucky jack lost the bet and
retrieved a shovel from the shed. he
never ran faster, and hasn’t since—
than he did to the forest across the
residential road, where houses are now
built upon a grave—to dispose of our
friend, our stupid, stupid friend

© J. Michael Freiwald


it costs eighty a month
or four hours work
depending on the job

it takes eight minutes
from the front of her office
to the front of our door
eleven if the elevator is
acting up, which is likely

from seven minutes after
the last minute of her
shift to the sound of the horn
confirming the locked car

i check on occasion
the only vacant spot

© J. Michael Freiwald