blue water shimmers in a swimming pool
[ This image is in the public domain. ]

The man next door is useful. 
He mows around our shed in spring, cuts 
firewood, stacking it smartly for winter.  
His wife comes outside only in morning, 

shuffles down the driveway, crossing the road   
to the mailbox. She is pale as an ocean  
stone with sand-scraped skin  
softened by the circling sea. 

Now, it is summer. Her husband 
skims the in-ground pool.  
For hours, he stands over nearly-  
clear water removing debris.  

He never stops skimming, skips 
breakfast, work, phone calls, dessert.  
The grass grows high against the shed.  
The lawn stretches lazily as the wind yawns.  

The mailbox shuts its mouth:  
it is full of unanswered statements.  
The man next door skims 
the surface of the unused pool.  

He catches leaves, Polly noses, Japanese beetles. 
At night, he dreams of quarantine: black  
iridescent blotches, Rorschach  
butterflies floating into white net.