The playhouse sags on its stilts,
stunned and bereft, while the see-saw
rocks back and forth in silence.
The sandbox coughs up lost toys—
matchbox cars caked in rust,
the amputated limbs of dolls.

The lawn scorches under the sun’s
judgement. The berry bushes
at the yard’s edge grow a fine crop
of thorns, and the starved garden
gnaws off its own fingers.

The maple tree drops every limb
that has ever been touched
by a climbing child. The tire swing
dangles below the branch
from which it has hanged itself.

The lilac bush swallows
the two wooden markers beneath it,
each carved with a pet’s name,
and spits out a pile of bleached bones.

The birdhouse closes its mouth,
forgets the words to its song,
then forgets the melody,
then forgets what a song is.