HOUSE AND GARDEN: Leaving Confucius and awaiting Obama

thehouse A poem by Virginia Smith

"I don’t trust those Orientals as far as I can throw them,” my realtor spits at me through her red lipstick and whitened teeth. In my backyard, Redbud branches begin to burst, their wands twisting and fluffy with pea-shaped buds. This riot of color, a gag on the quiet sepia sketches of  Japanese gardens, rallies my response.

“Who’s my buyer, Lisa? Some rich white guy?” I wonder if my voice breathes out my Chinese lover’s recent good-bye kiss, tasting of black coffee, toothpaste and my own moist folds of purply pink. Or perhaps his mushroom dampness still alive in my mouth offends her over the phone.

“He’s a VP for Verizon and a big muckymuck,  paying cash, can you believe that in this market, hon? His wife loves your little goldfish pond. You are leaving it, right?”

Last night the orange Asian’s fluttery tail tissue stuck in the pond’s filter, her body standing upright as her mouth kissed the  water’s surface in panic and prayer. While On-Cho nuzzled the hard rose of my nipples, and we moved one another in empty fullness, I hear her cry, feel  her florescence and dying.

Flying from bed I find her, tug three times on her tail, and release her into the water. Finding me there, he drapes his Burberry blazer over my bare shoulders. Caressing my Petco exotica, I laugh and weep. “I have sold you; you must stay here but I cannot.”

This Dutch Colonial sits solid and upright, awaiting its new owner, its white and stone walls gleaming gray pearl in tonight’s moon. In Barack’s  year, no young and noisy family of Benetton browns and Gap yellows will trample flower beds and pull fish tails in this American garden.

But like Bertha Mason, wild Jamaican mamma stalking Rochester’s domestic empire, I will leave piles of Christmas tissue beside the heater in the attic, haunt this house that is not now mine with the passion that is.