Dear Suburb

When I say my porch is low
and wide I mean it’s barely a porch, hacking out
roses growing around it, say there’s
enough flush here for a vase,
but you say wait until they’re the shade of red
Gauguin dreamed when he painted
children before smearing
their faces, and I say what about
the two men in the rusted van
trolling this neighborhood for kids,
and you say we need shocks
of goldenrod, shocks of crow, and besides
it does no good to pray
for a gleaming day when a bird will
land on you like a catkin, and then
you remind me of the glory
of a city on a hill, which I’ve tried
in eight different ways to refute,
and you say we both want a hornet at the center
of a screen, and then I confess,
as if you give a damn, that I love
in fact your highways and lawns, these raw
lots developers bought for a song.

David Roderick’s first book, Blue Colonial, won the American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize. He teaches poetry and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.