Around eleven
the sweeper comes through,
does one side, turns at the corner, does the other.
Big brushes shoving against the curb,
sick smell of hot, black pavement rising.
White car following in its wake, handing out tickets.

This is when I see my neighbors,
rushing from their apartments,
pulling on robes or dressed in sweats,
looking startled or angry.
The woman in #2 with all those kids,
the guy who changes his oil in the alley,
leaving the empty containers
lying against the cinderblock wall
like fallen soldiers,
Mr. Pick Up Truck who screams at his wife,
#5 with the old wreck that takes 10 times to start,
the group upstairs who only come out at night,
their shoes slamming on the steps as they descend.

The distance from one Tuesday
to another may as well be a year,
so much has happened,
so many disappointments
and time has twisted and turned
in so many directions that it’s hard to tell
what’s forward and what’s back
until Tuesday.

Published in FZQ

Photo by Craig Vodnik on Unsplash