I want to drive to Kansas City one day,
and find that the house I grew up in
hasn’t been painted baby block blue.
I want to see that the stucco
hasn’t been chipped away as if vandals
had pelted it with rocks
to frighten the raccoons that live
inside amid the dust, cobwebs
and mold. I want to stand out front
and look up at the pin oak
that once shaded the yard
and then glance across the street
and see that neighboring houses
are not empty and condemned.
And I want to see that all the evergreen
bushes and shrubs are back in place
and that they’re covered in bag worms.
And that all the moms and dads and kids
up and down the street are busy
with a single purpose—
filling up bushel baskets and burning
the worms with leaves in fiery barrels,
with all the urgency of fighting the Great
North American Locust Plague
of 1874. But most of all I want to see kids
and neighborhood dogs running free
without a single fence or leash in sight.