Early morning voices came
from up the hill outside my office window,
where there’s another row of condos—
exotic, relaxed voices, unusually alive.
I also heard raking, and imagined
these unseen neighbors
removing leaves on the patio
where they might have had
drinks last night. They spoke
sometimes in English with accents
that might have been French,
and sometimes in another tongue
that sounded French, as well.
Their conversation was leisurely,
then lively, humorous at times,
sometimes flirtatious: It spoke
delight in one another’s company
The lone female voice
was pure music, its every sentence
lifting all the others.
Alone down in my office, Barbara still asleep upstairs,
I felt a bit jealous of the camaraderie.
I got immersed in my work awhile
before the voices caught my attention again.
Glancing at the window. I saw
they were right outside!
They were not in fact French socialites,
but the work crew of Landscaping
here at our development.
What I’d heard from above—
Spanish, somehow inflected by distance.
Two men wore yellow and orange plastic vests,
the mellifluous woman and one man, grey work outfits.
As they talked, they scraped the leaves
from our sidewalk and stuffed them
into huge white plastic bags.
I tried recording them,
but they drifted into silence,
only the rakes to be heard.
Finally, I snuck outside and snapped a picture.
My work called to me again.
Next time I looked outside,
the workers had departed.
The white bags filled with leaves sat
on the pebbled median by the sidewalk.
It was very quiet out there.