Front Porch

Front porch, summer night, secluded

by arborvitae and brick half wall,

quiet under vaulted roof, cool

in heat, thick cushions on iron chairs where

a child’s feet almost reach the edge.

Calm place to listen, companionable silence

of little girl, daddy. Small

town in Ohio, crossroads of commerce

back then.

 

On Granville Road a block away growl trucks

heavy uphill eastbound to the new interstate.

From far east Morse Road, far west Linworth, freight trains

wail south to north full

 

oranges, peaches, peanuts, furniture, hogs, clatter

through crossings, motorists guarded by flimsy gates

spot engineer in square of light, count

cars, anticipate red caboose, wave to conductor.

 

A train that has been with flamingoes

goes back, leaves cars from Detroit

under Spanish moss, tires from Akron

amid palm trees, alligators and grand dim Hotel Alabama

where grandparents go all winter

grandaddy with golf bags, grandmother with books.

 

Upstairs now for summer, in their deafness

do they hear clatters, wails, growls, remember

orange blossoms? Sad

if grandparents can’t hear promises of adventure.

 

“Well, Little C,” Daddy abbreviates Little Creature,

“Are you feeling prosperous?”

Prosperous? Firmer than promise, must be good or

 

he would not ask, so Little C breathes “yeah…”

pensive, unsure but knowing she can be

whatever she might want,

whatever Daddy lets her know is as good

as the front porch on a summer evening.

 

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio

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