C R A P E Myrtle

I always want to spell
crape myrtle with an e,
but when the policeman
I have called because
one of the ones that line
the street outside my house
has been vandalized,
I do not.
Pushed over at the root.
a small tree so this is
possible, one of the white
ones which never thrive
as much as the pink ones do.
The same pink as the one
my mother had that grew
as a bush below my bedroom,
window which had Priscilla
curtains the same color.
The vandals have left
graffiti on the fence as well,
as they do with regularity.
Should I be worried, afraid
I sometimes wonder and pose
the question to the policeman
who seems the right person
to ask. He does not answer
directly, but manages to frighten
me nonetheless, so that I take
up locking the back door
which latches with the key
as well.
The policeman does not know
what I am saying when I say
the name of the tree,
so I spell it out
C R A P E and myrtle
like a woman’s name,
not bothering to think
until much later that
he may spell that with an e.