Ashes and Dust
by Ethan Evans
A man and woman were planted in the grass
They looked like mutinous trees
Feet and roots started from the ground
Strong and straight
But over time rebelled
Or maybe just got tired
and started growing into these
lawn chairs. Comfortably
Toys are strewn around the yard.
A faded plastic pedal-car
cracked and on its side.
The wind blows and
a wheel turns silently.
A sandbox shaped like a turtle flounders,
half of its former contents spilled
out in dunes across the sidewalk
leading up to the house.
G.I. Joe and his many clones
are scattered after having their helicopter
shot down on a nighttime raid.
There’s no one at HQ
To plan a rescue mission.
Barbie and her sisters
have become Amazons
making their home among the green.
Forgotten and attempting to
live off the land.
Where are the children?
Young saplings swaying in the breeze.
Where is the boy and girl who played here?
Seedlings who hadn’t yet established roots.
The man and woman stare straight ahead
as I walk by their lonely yard.
Father and Mother Sycamore
smoke cigarettes and
the irony is not lost on me.
Tired trees with cigarettes in their branches
Inhaling what can burn them to a crisp.
But their eyes meet mine and
I shiver because I see that
they’ve already burned themselves
from the inside out
and the only thing left is darkened bark
and withered branches.
And it wouldn’t surprise me if I walked
past this way tomorrow and they were gone,
burned to ash,
floating away gently in the night.
Ethan Evans is a high school English teacher in Southwest Missouri who keeps trying to convince his students that poetry is important. He enjoys reading, writing, and watching the Kansas City Royals play baseball. He considers Ted Kooser his spirit animal and reads said spirit animal’s poems voraciously.