Jakob Ziguras

Derwent Street


In the abandoned hours, I can hear 
The boorish sibilance of garbage trucks 
On their rounds. The shy, nocturnal air 
Builds a brittle nest with strands of fear. 
Insomniac crickets tick, like manic clocks, 

In the unmown expanse of the vacant lot 
Where, last week, on the razor grass, 
A young woman was raped 
And her voice broke like green glass 
Against a wall while the street slept. 

3 a.m. on a weeknight, certifiably dead, 
Derwent Street lies wrapped in a body-bag 
Of plastic darkness, under lamps as gelid 
As fluorescents humming in a morgue. 
The casual anger of an alley dog 

Rends the pale throat of silence. 
A blind opens, across the street, 
Like a bruised eye and, fearing further violence, 
Tensely watches the threatening night. 
The air is sticky, the leaves of trees sweat 

And my mind reels with the cheap perfume 
Of the jasmine climbing backyard fences 
Like a drunk schoolgirl sneaking home. 
I retreat inside. In the bedroom, 
You have burned frankincense.


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