The day has gone slack, but not for the noisy grackles who darken my pear trees, who want what they want, nor for the sylphy single mom next door who thumps like a heart on her treadmill. Passion fails for most of us, that's the truth. But worse things happen in a life. Pre-teen daughters, left with a live-in, hug designer handbags, slight their cats, refuse my smiles. A boyfriend in Malibu, she told my husband, uncoiling from her Jaguar in tights and furs. Do I dare pass judgment in the Age of Whatever? It's the North Dallas way, molting lives like birds drop feathers, as long as you're happy the length of a marriage. If I said something other than have a good time, if I spoke like a nun, self- denial? Or foretold like a sibyl the woeful outcome? But I'm just an old neighbor on the wrong side of a rose-covered fence. And who can stand to see ahead the cost of her decisions? Evening after evening my grackles come back screeching, a babel of brute gesture so unlike the bird I can't name whose call begins with the pluck of a kiss but ends at once with a sigh, a not unwelcome release from the tight zero of desire. I've heard that bird, yes, I have, not in this place, but always at this hour.