THAT YEAR IN BLACK AND WHITE
(Merrill Street, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1997)
A man is found hung on the edge of the ghetto,
his eyes bleeding from the pressure,
the cold moss like water
where the stones have been rolled away
& replaced over the man’s keys
& empty wallet.
A couple of bank receipts blow in a circle under his shoes.
Police lights warble, red & blue.
Abort Christ, it says on the toilet stall
door in the Catholic hospital,
& somebody drew
a fetus hung by its own umbilical cord.
The urinals epoxied to the wall
look like something from Easter Island.
They stare silently into the long mirrors,
bored stupid by years.
The snow flakes here are made of dust and metal.
They taste like nothing, like a pile of new envelopes.
A squadron of planes purrs invisibly over the house and then when it’s quiet
you see a single mosquito casting a shadow on the kitchen wall.
Is it really 3 a.m.?
Yes, but it hasn’t snowed for five months.
When you turn on the television a burning crucifix fills the screen
And for twenty minutes it just stays there.
Congratulations Maxine Beneba Clarke!
9 minutes ago