mama’s tea

by tobias crabtree

out the back door of my parent’s house

at the bottom of the stairs,

where the ghosts of the dogs of my childhood

gather with lolling tongues,

there is a world.

that yard is smaller, less steps to the side gate.

time made it shrink.

the old bikes are mostly gone, those that remain

are quiet on flat and rotting tires.

they lean in repose, remembering.

down the hill is the creek in it’s sandy bed,

ancient races of crawfish, shellshod and blue-eyed,

hunker down into muddy holes.

this same creek that watered comanche horses

before england and spain came.

the hill home is steep on a single speed.

banana seat and coaster breaks.

mama bakes in the kitchen while pa studies

the words of the prophets.

the smell of tea and coffee.

in between the words birth and death

there lies a distance.

our eyes collect the colors and our ears

hear the clunking heart that will tell us

when we are going home.