Memorial Day Eve
by Jeffrey Alfier

With night fallen, I watch from my front step
the corner streetlight that seems to hover, illuming

nothing but a few passing cars and the neighbor
across the street who descends her driveway

to walk her dog. The American flag
silhouettes the blank green stucco wall

of her newly-painted house. She fades down
a lane immersed in the amber halos of other

streetlights. Some recess of my mind
considers for a moment what women

who live alone do with their money
or their bodies, believe interior decorators

design for them décors of classical solitude.
A Pacific breeze rustles the night-dark

nimbus of camphor trees as she returns
upstreet, her ungainly shadow laboring up

her driveway. The sound of her door,
as it shuts, impels with it the utterance

of her last footstep, and the snap of the flag
still waiting to be folded at nightfall.

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