The Other Side of the Ditchbank

He killed her on the lawn
Of the house next door
Where my babies played with hers
It was almost impossible to keep the grass green there
We tried poking holes
Summer evenings we watered
On alternate days

We had nothing in common
But motherhood and the front lawn
I went back to school
She waited dinner for him
She smoked on the back stoop
And caught my husband doing the same thing

On Thursdays we both had irrigation privileges
The right to flood the back yard
To fill the ditch
Give popsicles to the kids
Her little girl marshaled all my boys
unruly regiments, mudlarks

 Little Lea first with the bow and arrow
Her pointed chin at my door
Inciting rebellion in the ranks
She climbed up on the truck and
Took chili pepper ristras down from the rafters
They pounded them with rocks
On the driveway and sprinkled the flakes
On bird’s tails
But never caught one
My boys ended screaming at the emergency room
While nurses rinsed their burning eyes
Lea ran home to her mother
She didn’t cry

 Last night he shot her mother on the lawn
They found her in the living room
I had never entered
A domestic dispute, a suicide, a bomb squad
We don’t live in that house anymore
But I see our babies still playing there
On the ditchbank between our houses
My windows leaking laughter
Her home so quiet

On the Art of Translation No. 1

No Peeking