the 4 x 4 post was askew

a leaning tower of pisa

the sign was half unhinged

a victim of the recent winds

or a prankster who didnít finish the job

it dangled in the breeze on this

very late afternoon nearly evening

the last spears of sunlight gleaming

my friend bob used to call it the

tall     shadow     hour


he produced an oscar winning film

built a house in the hollywood hills for

the woman he loved

with waterfalls and a dance studio enshrined in mirrors

but she left him anyway

and he moved faraway


the sign said for sale

3 bedroom charmer

sunrise realty

ask for steve


the house looked neglected

a shadow of what it once was or

could have been

owners without funds to pay for

curb appeal


it was a sign of the times

depression     foreclosure    ruined lives

a sign of desperation


but along the front fence

the wisteria was in bloom

glorious explosion of lavender

a vine prevails in spite of

bankruptcy     greed     crimes against humanity


and the light at this hour is daring


the house will not sell

for the buyers are just as broke as

the seller


the bank will take it back

the family will pack everything they own into a u-haul

the youngest child will pluck a twig of wisteria before parting

and on the journey to she doesnít know where

sniff it in the back seat

she will never forget its sweet fragrance

and her fatherís face as he drove without fear


and steve will quit his job at the sunrise realty

go back to school and

take up the cello


by Maureen Foster


Maureen Foster is the author of three novels, and her essays, poetry, and short fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Pacific Review, Word River, and others. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

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