Beneath a chalk-white winter sky,
her diamond studs gleam.
We sit parked in the Clam Shack lot, halfway
between her house and mine,
in her mother’s luxury SUV. Her alibi this time:
Christmas shopping for her mother on Newbury Street.
Those are traffic lights. They help stop people from
driving into each other. That’s a crescent moon and star
on top of that building. It means the people inside are part
of The Nation. That’s a gas station. That’s a McDonald’s.
That’s a Burger King. That’s a fried fish and chicken joint.
Without the backdrop of leaves and scat,
the possum playing possum, its mate
the same. Without the tip of the road,
its black pitch wound like a widow’s wail
through the wet trees. Consider the undergrowth
On Leaving the Mountains and Coming to the City I Thought I Left For Good
that they are not men,
that they have not settled into their beards and
remorse, their crow’s feet and givens.
There is not yet an investment in houses
settling onto their foundations, hair, or
yesterday. The boy senses his time is precarious,