Litkicks Message Board Archive

cracked alley

Posted to Poetry

The junkyard dogs bounce sharp barks off the metal sky
We slow our walking
To a low crouch,fit our hands
Around our mouths and chins
Squeeze our fingers tight to
Trap our breath escaping like
Air from a nail pricked tire
We had heard growing up-
Those dogs live on
Kittens and babies
A man throws them out
Of a trap door built into
His yellowing groom's cake trailer
We had heard growing up about a hole in the fence
So small only the thinnest could escape
"The thin ones are hungriest-
When they hunt they finish what they start-
Drag the bones back through for later"
You and I have walked this short cut
More times in our lives
Than there are cracks in the sidewalk
Where it narrows to an alley
It leads to Jack's Market
Red brick pocked with bullets like
A watermelon left in the sun too long
Bars over the cast iron screens over the shatterproof glass
Of the windows that the sun can barely squeak through
The flicker of the track light inside trying to pick up
The slack-moths pounding themselves to dust inside the
Frosted ficture
Green linoleum bent over uneven floor
Peeling places flash broken cement smiles
The dry goods stand on the shelves
Like tombstones wearing fir coats of dust
And everything is dull and decaying including Jack
Who wears the same plaid lumberjack shirt everyday
His shelf life will expire before the Twinkies and the
Vanilla cookie sandwiches
We push through the door
The copper bells tied to the frame with freying yarn
Clank their backs against eachother
He pulls a pack of Camels off the shelf for you
And some Lucky's down for me with shaky fingers
Like he has done since we were fourteen
He tells us the weather will be hotter tomorrow
The hottest June in years-we'd do best to stay inside
He tells us not to chase down trouble and to
Take a package of spoiling bologna from the broken
Freezer for the dogs
And we do