Conditioned to want this place, these vile city trees
with roots like exposed nerve desperate for cover, I
circle an old haunt as if I were a horse pinned to a carousel.
My pulse races at the corner store, but I drive slower
to savor the moment. –A decade later, the neighborhood
is worse but the wet sidewalk still reflects a neon Welcome.
I have no desire to alarm someone by idling this way at night
but I can’t pull away. Not yet. Your house is dark
so I open the car window, hoping for a familiar smell
like a junkie hungry for anything that shoots me down
into the past but, although the same carved tire holds weeds
in the yard, the family I imagine inside has been gone for years.
The dog doesn’t bark from the basement that reeked of her
confinement and, even if the worn carpet still climbs those stairs,
you don’t dream in the room at the top. I can no longer lie
beside you in the dark, touching the hollow of your neck
where breath lifts and lowers the skin. Stirred by my presence,
you will not turn to return my caress. My desire won’t
awaken a body that has moved on in time, where I am leashed.
–But, I am forced out of idle when the new owner flashes
the porch light and hollers that she has already called the police. . .
Lovers have moved over my body to leave impressions, but
their kisses are sand the memory of your touch washes away.
From The Entropy of Rocketman, a collection of poems by Rita Anderson.
About the Poet:
Rita Anderson has an MFA Poetry and an MA Playwriting. She was poetry editor of Ellipsis (University of New Orleans) and two volumes of poetry, The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press) and Watched Pots (A Lovesong to Motherhood), published in 2016. Rita won the Houston Poetry Festival, the Gerreighty Prize, the Robert F. Gibbons Poetry Award, the Cheyney Award, and an award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in over 50 literary magazines and anthologies.
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