(If viewing this poem on a handheld device, please rotate to landscape mode to provide maximum width for each line.)
The traffic on the highway
sounds like an ancient, injured
animal, as I
past my driveway.
I’m careful to avoid holes
in the street, full of rainwater.
I don’t see
my reflection, just brown.
The houses are quiet
in the middle of the day
and a car sprints out of the tunnel
in front of me.
The dirty, scrawled-on walls close in,
as I walk on what’s left
of a sidewalk.
At the end in the grey light,
I see the park, and beyond,
It’s not a park I take my kids to—my kids
who love to run barefoot in grass.
The land’s not so much wild, as
Two rusty stakes jut out of the hard ground,
for a game of horseshoes I’ve never seen anyone play.
There’s a picnic table spotted with years of encrusted bird shit
and nearly every board splintered.
is keeping a small, wild garden.
It’s always overflowing with flowers
and plants I do not know the names of.
I lean down and take
in their perfume.
Cheryl Pappas is a writer from Boston. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, SmokeLong Quarterly, Atlas & Alice, and more. Her website is cherylpappas.net and you can find her on Twitter at @fabulistpappas.