I don’t forgive you, Tongue, for leaving
me stranded at midnight
on a highway where injury
rushes through like a high-speed chase.
On the corner of Park & Front,
an old woman croons
to an imagined jukebox,
sways and snaps her fingers
above her head.
When she steps into the street,
all traffic stops to let her pass. I trip
on the uneven sidewalk.
Words dangle just out of reach,
a lure down the rabbit hole,
and I would go this time
but it’s snowing again,
and I don’t trust
anything that’s too clean.
ON THE BLOCK: AN ELEGY
Back in the day, we pedal Big Wheels,
the streamers flapping, until the pavement
bores holes into the black plastic tires.
We chase lightning bugs through front
yards, catch them in our hands, let them
crawl to the tips of our fingers. We never
put them into glass jars.
We play hide-and- seek by the rules: no
sneaking into backyards, no touching
the neighbors’ cars. Chay cuts her arm on a nail
under the porch, so we rule that out too.
We trip on groundhog holes, cut
each other’s bangs, serve up the dozens,
fish minnows in tin cans from the brook.
We make the boys jump double dutch.
Down on the corner of Academy and Front,
we find little plastic baggies
next to the house with the high brown fence.
We don’t touch them.
A car does 40 up the block, hooks
into a driveway down the street. The girl
next door bounces a basketball in the driveway,
the net from the hoop is gone.
CHRISTINE TAYLOR, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Modern Haiku, apt, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Rumpus, and The Paterson Literary Review, among others. She can be found at www.christinetayloronline.com.