Pam Uschuk

We Thought No One Could See Us

Although it didn’t freeze, the tulip tree flames, its
leaves as big as fiery umbrellas
plunging to the neighbor’s late lawn, and I see
for the first time all summer, holes
in our privacy.
            The illusion we’ve loved, that
we’re alone and secret in the woods, instead
of backed up like a truck full of contraband
to a dull suburban development,
begins to unravel as we tilt away from sun.

Across the road, horses graze on humid grass,
neighbors we adore. They drift
like contented ghosts through morning fog
almost distracting us from the NPR commentator
who breaks news — in Fallujah our soldiers
have gunned down another Iraqi police squad
by mistake, police our forces trained
to rein in the chaos of our war
on terror.
        Friendly fire, the military names
the massacre of all eight officers, just like
the massacre of nameless scores
these months, although friendly
crashes like a mortar through the airwaves,
shatters the floor of the helpless kitchen we pace
while we wonder how we can paste all
those dying leaves back on our trees.