Or Maybe It Was the Name of a Rock Band
Concrete surround of the city, Milwaukee.
On the sidewalk “We found a dead man”
spray painted multiple times, which means
maybe just what it says. Two guys walking
until they noticed the legs frozen
at a wrong angle. Or a set of eyes, unblinking,
fashioned from glass. A face gray-shaded.
The end of a life when the wind goes still.
And the scene was so powerful
that one man’s taken up his spray paint,
unable to shake the image of the dead.
“We found a dead man.”
Not “We saw” or “We noticed,”
“found” lays claim,
a finder’s keepers, an object of value.
We’re here for a wedding, Milwaukee.
It’s hard not to let the dead man in,
think of him just outside the Hilton’s grandness.
A ballroom, a fleur-de-lis, a chandelier, a dead man.
The spray paint words have made him always dead.
Not a man who could have watched the Brewers,
eaten pretzel bread, done something Milwaukee.
Around the Hilton and for blocks,
“We found a dead man.” It’s a wedding.
It’s a sentence in spray paint. Somehow
they’ve managed to hold the dead man briefly
and then pass him to me. When I dance
with him, I realize how clumsy I am
by comparison, how my feet
won’t follow. “We found a dead man.”
Later, we’ll head out of the hotel,
step right over those words.
The Sound Under the Car Can’t Be Good
A wad of plastic bags melted to the exhaust,
better than when I crushed the tricycle
but still it sounds wrong, a dozen tiny hands
slapping the undercarriage as if children were
there, not children in distress, but children
wanting to be noticed. Someone else’s children.
I pull over and they stop. I start
and again, the hands, on the verge of anger,
fists pounding on the door of a person
pretending to be gone. Cold January night.
I could fix this myself, be on my way.
Cherry Hill Golf Course ahead, the only streetlight
flaring sodium pink and I drive slowly,
the hands tiring, the hands giving up hope,
even resting sometimes, children’s hands,
palms that will bruise the next day,
a reminder of a woman trying not to hear.