NEAR FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S SPRING HOUSE
Tacey M. Atsitty
Every morning when I push aside
my bedroom curtain, I see green
bananas, their curved true stem weighs
down the tree’s neck. It hangs lower
than the day before, male flowers
begin brushing the shrubbery beneath
in light wind— I wonder if my neighbor
Cooper even knows they’re ripe now.
My other neighbor Chelle hacks down
her entire tree when harvesting bananas.
They only come in every few years, she says
while stroking the bark. They’re sticky too.
There are things you learn as a home-
owner in Florida coming from the West
deserts. Lemon trees, for instance, come
like roses, heavy and thick with thorns.
My lemons are acting weird this year;
they’re not falling like they should be,
even when I take it at the branches, though
they’re full, plum-covered with dust—
A landscaper once said my lemon tree
was planted too close to my driveway.
Why did they plant your figs so close to the house
anyway? He went on and on about them.
Manny, who lives on the corner,
told me about the man who once owned
my house, how he shot & killed himself
in my front yard. After a quick inhale,
I said, My house and property have been blessed.
And thanked him for waiting at least a year
before telling me this. Maybe that’s why
the guy before me planted an entire garden
in the front yard. It looked funny, Chelle said.
But it grew really well. He planted everything,
she said, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries.
One year the guy planted a small cornfield
and Chelle thought she saw a crop circle.
Manny told me about the other corner
man who swore aliens took over the body
of his brother, shaking him violently
until the paramedics arrived. About how
the now overgrown molded blue house
once thrived as a makeshift café, where
fishermen would bring their fresh catches
from Lake Jackson, just at the road’s end,
to be fried up. There’d be cars parked
all up and down Waterline; you couldn’t
hardly get into your driveway. And Miss Rita,
boy, she was one heck of cook! She’d fry up
those fish & hushpuppies like it was nothing,
then boil up some grits & greens for your plate.
Course she had lots of practice being a carnie
for all those years, after her parents gave her up,
half of her siblings too! That was during
the Depression time. They could only afford
to feed 7 of the 14 of them. The rest, well—
maybe it’s why she took in all those prostitutes,
didn’t want no one feeling left out, the way
she was all those years ago. Yeah,
those were some tough years, Manny said
before going on about the peach orchard
that once thrived where Coop’s house
where Coop’s banana tree overhangs
the fence into my yard, heavy with fruit.
Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné (Navajo), is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle People. She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, Morning Star Creative Writing Award, and the Philip Freund Prize. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY, EPOCH, Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, New Poets of Native Nations,and other publications. Her first book is Rain Scald (University of New Mexico Press, 2018).