On grace in late August

August 19, 2022

She uses the dishwasher
only to dry what she washes

in the sink. She looks out across
the dry-brown backyard, grass

probably crinkly under foot,
like walking on potato chips

in the carpeted den, just to notice
her son’s square garden, framed

by railroad tie fragments
housing rot and yellow jackets,

with its single jalapeño
or spotted Beefsteak hanging

heavily, waiting for him
to free them from the heat,

from the deer. No one’s around
her now, anywhere near the kitchen,

the sun high, a spotlight, inviting
her gaze on the garden.  It will be

years before he confesses
his sins at the counter,

to be absolved, just in front
of this sink where she promises

to wash peppers and tomatoes
that tend to die on the vine

on this heat-drenched square patch
of garden in the back, still

in view, stilled as she hums
hymns and waits for dishes to dry.