On This Street

rain is wetter, colder,
alley cats are hungrier, each day
breaking open like a crow-barred lock,
the sky a grainy screen, the windy corners,

and each night,
heavy husbands shut out light,
beefy arms flung back across their eyes,
the deep wells of their slack, rank mouths,

and each night,
wrung-out wives turn their backs,
slump down on mattress edges, feel
small wishbones sticking in their throats

or they lean toward
steamy bathroom mirrors, raw hands
cupping water, faces streaked, wondering
how the killer crows got in behind their eyes.

And each night,
AWOL sons sleep cold and stoned
in back seats of low-slung Impalas, gambling
on the weather, pushing death out to the edges,

a dreamless dark
blowing down the block, slinking in
over transoms, nothing lonelier than
the black windows of a silver train of rain.

Susan Elbe is the author of Eden in the Rearview Mirror (Word Press), and two chapbooks: Light Made from Nothing (Parallel Press) and Where Good Swimmers Drown, winner of the Concrete Wolf Press 2011 Chapbook Prize. Her second book of poetry, The Map of What Happened, won the Backwaters Press Prize and is forthcoming in 2013. Her website is www.susanelbe.com.
*Photo courtesy of Sweet.Eventide.
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