397 Readings

The Final Place To Go

We are living in an unsightly way.
The stillness pushes a floating leaf
to the ground. In a shaded part of a house
a boy, not yet two, crawls from a doorway
into a perfectly lit room. We are a family 
without neighbors. On a new street
wives would harm their husbands
for one still day. Their prison was lawlessly
constructed and the deaths they imagined
were fitting. No one is healthy anymore.
Well-kept children leave each day for school
without vaccines. In vacant lots
weeds and drooping leaves won’t speak. 
A turned cheek never reddens enough
to save us. The healing we live for
comes so quickly, but we continue to wait.
A man circles a block each morning
and returns to a town ten miles away.
On a new street, sacrifice
lacks discipline. In an unsightly way
darkness slackens its hold on the children.
We live in a guarded community
we’ve earned, and sacrifice does what it wants 
with us. An ordinary day intensifies
when light wind lifts a leaf. We divide
a vacant lot. The shade creates
in a window the color of the street.

Posted 02/11/14
previously published in the Winter 2013/14 issue of The Iowa Review.
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