we pulled up to paradise, trying not to peek at the rubble next door.
apprehension seduced me, and we pretended not to watch
the scavengers sorting through the shambles of a life, strewn on the sidewalk
like crumbs fallen in the corner behind an overfull trash can.
i held my breath but nothing happened.
you told me there was no sock yarn in the mess outside.
it was claimed. sock yarn absorbed into the blank windows and closed faces of neighbors,
and no one would cover the nakedness of another.
a woman squatted against the fence posts, hips wide, hands on her knees.
her turban wilted and her eyes narrow, looking deeply into nothing.
the ground turned its face away and covered itself with things
broken and scattered beneath her feet.
the sky was flat, shutting closed like all the doors on our street.
we shuffle past and pretend we don’t notice
your broken piles. it isn’t something we will touch
my hands might get dirty.
the woman leans into a standing position, straddling the wreckage of a world
and walks away.
Shoutout to Sam Perry and his new project, “Paper News: I Am the Printing Press.” This poem will be published in the monthly magazine.