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.