as if it were a scene made up by my need
for a city, viaducts July-sweating sweat not
mine as the city is no longer mine, was never,
but it holds me near to its metallic, junkyard
pasture and junkie song so hollow it’s a hall
I dare not walk through, this tragic place
wherefrom the people with my face fall.
Wherefrom fall all the architectures I am
I say are my people’s people and my people
whose houses tremble as thunderous bass passes.
The blacktopped roads sop up heat for double
Dutch feet to greet, rope slapped down
by a child’s hand. I used to know her name.
It is only a dream of trees, their propeller seeds
blown west through batches of weeds crocheted
yellow-green with dandelions and cigarette butts
once erect from a mouth stressed over rent due,
dried spit the tincture of wait and liquor stores.
Often I am permitted to return to this city
as if it were a gift for which I forgot the means
to augur into clarity, always wrapped in cool violence,
neighbors’ frowns cauterized into cul-de-sacs,
omen outcasting what lives to give relief.
Copyright © 2016 Phillip B. Williams
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.