Southern Pines

The hum of the AC cools the matted shag rug
And the den is blue with afternoon overcast
Humidity through the old blue blinds
Hanging Low over the peeling shed
The clouds almost touching the radio tower that the southern pines seem to forever frame. 
Nustleing my nose into the couch cushion, I imagine my ideal situation. 
Scared to talk to him because he is so confused and conversation is not worth the effort.
Is he sleeping? Or is he dead? Covered up by the yellow and green knit blanket, I look through the weaving at the door off the living room. Cool gusts seep from under it smelling like alcohol and heart attacks to come
I think it’s funny when he yells at us, 
not fully understanding his joking is actually serious, 
And him seriously not being serious will soon kill him. Two people will die in that room. We are scared to use that bathroom. It is haunted. Its cursed. If I have to, I hold my breath and my ears so I don’t take in anything. 
Sometimes when I am on the couch, afternoon heat leads to lazy and slowly drifting thunderstorms. 
Giant rain drops clunk on the Metal AC unit. The occasional clap of thunder is made easier by her reassurance from the big green chair, the one that has the indent on the armrest where I would sit an eat cantaloupe and fall asleep- I’m too big now. I am too big to point out the freckles on her nose and tell her that the specks look like pepper,
When I look over and see she is asleep I decide that she’s breathing too, convincing myself that she isn’t old until she is 78- she is 77
I pull fluff from under the coach every evening around 4:15, just so I can blow it straight up into the air and watch it float down, 
The moments between take off and decent are the best, is it air resistance- or magic? 
When the room turns from blue to golden and I hear the intro to the evening news, I sit up on the coach and look out the big window at the heavy sky looking like honeysuckle and blooming mimosas along the cracked sidewalk- the yard littered with orange peels and beer bottles, the old south meeting the new one, holding on through reasoning, finding reason to believe there is good in everything- nothing is for real, nothing is serious. 
The rusted jungle gym is gone and the area behind the shed where the weeds grew taller than me has been cleared, 
The little stepping stones between the flowering bushes where we caught monarchs in jars is barely visible- the only place that still connected what use to be known as Mechanicsville Virginia. 
Bendy straws and brewing sweet tea reveal to me what life was like back then, stove with steam and saucers of apple sauce. 
Supper not dinner.

 

Richmond, VA