Green stacks of broad, pointy-tipped maple leaves would block from me the rough west-end life,
But between these growing stacks are chasms big enough to showcase all worlds outside my knowing
And in these gaps, life — loud as a white blouse flashing by the corner of my eye — muscles in;
Throws my attention out the low hung window,
Up against the tangerine brick,
And into the middle-aged woman who sticks like a spit-ball to the wall.
Oblivious to me, she peeks around the corner from which she came
Then jerks back, undeterred by the rank, slow-rotting fast food.
She seems, with every move, to pull closer to decomposition,
Even sucking on the pacifying rod between her shaky fingers,
As if its poison is less toxic to her than whomever’s It.
Amidst the smoke, she attempts to quiet her fraught heart,
Which panics and ticks, bomb-like, inside its chamber, and which
I almost hear getting louder as it approaches one hour to sunset.
Her twitchy eyes spot someone on the second floor looking down,
And, for a beat, seems distanced from her trouble. Lost.
Possibly, in the layers of gently waving leaves,
Possibly in ways to use, or avoid my attention.
But in that moment he finds her and she promptly abandons anonmity.
“If you didn’t try to rape me,” she yells, while disappearing,
“there wouldn’t be a problem!”
I wonder, without her face to search for answers, if
The pacing, big belly man she yelled at will feel ashamed and repent,
And if he feels the stab and slash of those words, even at a distance.
But if life is a series of mortal wounds that toughen once endured,
Having endured, he’s crippled with rage
As he can be heard raging against her,
If not the inconvenience of light.
He’ll admit he and her together cut,
But before us, he vows not to bleed.
Not for her.
Not for anyone.