Here’s the gougey bodega,
the graying gym shoe power lines,
sloping toward what television
tells me is our drug corner.
Out front I ghosted through
the earliest blossoms of an ugly
fistfight and didn’t look back
until I knew it was over.
Yards away a wet sweatshirt
cloaked a cat’s corpse for most
of a winter, until they vanished:
first the sweatshirt, then the cat,
and then, at last, the winter.
In June, someone stole a chandelier,
some stained glass windows,
and a pair of marble candlesticks
from a home just blocks up Oak.
When the owner returned mid-heist,
the thief faked a search for his lost
cat as he fled. Neighbors blamed
the For Sale sign, but they’re all
for sale if they’re standing around here.
Now that the school has opened again,
I wonder, what stories do the children tell
about this dead end block
from the safety of their schoolyard swings?
Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in central New York. Recent work appears in publications including Bennington Review, Public Pool, Glittermob, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Heavy Feather Review, REALITY BEACH, and elsewhere. His chapbook Hygiene In Reading (Publishing Genius, 2016) was selected as the winner of the 2015 Chris Toll Prize. He is the editor of Really System (reallysystem.org), a journal of poetry and extensible poetics whose eighteenth issue was released in May 2018.
Image: DodgertonSkillhause, morguefile.com