there’s a paving rig on the freeway just back of my house.
the windows rattle to the dull bass note pounded out by the machine.
the driver leans out from under his bleached orange parasol,
watching his work. i watch him through the kitchen window.
his white hard-hat reflects the pummeling july sun.

i go outside and sit on an old, battered bench in the diminishing shade
cast by a cottonwood tree. the paving rig paves.
i smoke dope out of a small pipe.
hungry orange grubs eat the tree’s leaves.

the grubs are the definition of voracious.
they leave the leaves a dying latticework above a drizzle
of dark-green droppings softly falling onto my shirt,
into the hair on my head,
onto the hairs of my arms,
onto the skin of my fingers,

into the bowl of my pipe and into the cat’s water bowl by the bench,
where the droppings expand like some novelty
purchased for pennies from the back of an old comic book.

the hard-hatted driver shuts his paving rig down for lunch.
i finish smoking my bowl. the day is hot and now very quiet.

(Published in High Street: Lawyers, Guns & Money in a Stoner’s New Mexico (2012, Outpost 19); copyright 2012, 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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