With its miniature rock gardens, grape arbor, and roses (roses everywhere, like a child’s experiment with rouge); with its neatly trimmed grass along the flagstone walks; with its birdbath (strategically placed, as was its willow tree)—the backyard had all the aura of a formal garden.
In that lawn (just large enough to frame a family portrait), hemmed in by a wire fence disguised with honeysuckle vines and marigolds, one somehow achieved a sense of privacy; even a sense of seclusion from the nearby neighbors. While outside, a narrow broken alley ran between two rows of other backyard lawns.
All this (after all these years), like the fragments of a dream at noontime. Except for the latch. Substantial as a candy stuck in the throat, the latch remains in mind, as if I’d just stepped out of that microcosmic Eden into the narrow alleyway this early morning, closing the gate behind me with a click!; closing the gate behind me with all that is before time began locked! in a single syllable, for all time.
in a shaded spot
of a sundial