So many weeks the beagles barked
at the buzz coming from the mulberry.
Then, it was gone. I stared at the leaves
and grass and long driveway, but not one
wing, drone, or honeycomb was left
in our acre of land. And when I ran
the bases the next day, the lunch bell rang
and I had this feeling. Call it a bark
and call me a foreclosed house with a gate left
open. On my turn to pitch the mulberry
kickball, I swore I saw tri-colored coats, one
after the other, on the street like leaves.
In no way could the beagles leave,
pulled out of their collars, but I still ran
to the chain link with the kickball score one—
zero. The yard duties whistled and barked
and I sprinted until I crushed mulberries
under my sneakers. Nothing was left.
My brothers had left and my father had left
and my mother, seven times, came and left
until the ashes of seven beagles were buried
in tins under the largest tree. She ran
the hose until the ground was muddy and the bark
splashed with fruit. Then she was gone.
Countdown on the clock: three . . . two . . . one
and I was upright, chair tossed left,
and my mouth, widened, was a wet bark.
Out the classroom I chased my leaf-
thin shadow into the kickball field as if running
out of the country. My pant legs burry
with foxtail snags and my shoes a mulled
mess. I had lost everything, and one
by one the yard duties emerged, ran
with their pea whistles, right, and then left,
calling Joseph! at my heels. I climbed to leave,
I scaled the fence and there was barking.
I ran until it was clear and put my hand on the bark
of a mulberry tree. Again to hear our name leave
the mouths of others as if no one disappeared.
Leaving the Nonprofit Immigration
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