Forest Hill

by Michael Fraser

Dad and I churned
paint buckets prepping to hue
Dr. Solway’s weather-aged walls.

I laddered the roost side
and climbed raked metal steps,
dreadlocks slinking windblown
past my shoulders.

I leashed to the view in a
finger-snap. Swank stone cribs
muraled the corsaged setting,
prize cars flared drawn driveways,
and the postman’s face was a
TV playlist blaring the 1950’s.

I didn’t realize what the mailman
was thinking when he locked eyes
on me and race-horsed down those
pristine lawn-sided streets.

Police flashed-in, plentiful
dusk mosquitoes, as I clasped
the roller, drip-marking concrete.
Dr. Solway’s voice smoothed
the fuzzed frayed air.
I looked up at the clouds
shapeshifting as they glided by,
jealous of their freedom
to simply take up space.

— from Juniper Volume 5, Issue 1