That man in the white sombrero,
face sad as linen left to dry on a line,
that black van—call one-eight–hundred
buy-foreclosures-now. The uncut grass
of mass Exodus.
That time Christmas Eve—
furniture, gold balls and futures—
we’d already moved in:
“you have to leave,”
said the policemen, "get
your mortgage fixed,"
emigrate, sans lighted tree.
No time to take our ribbons.
We returned to the emptied basement,
ate chicken wings on bluish rugs,
electric heat from a fake fireplace,
still some storybooks to open,
in morning, here, another county,
some strange old world, but we—
we could always go back
past bled abandoned houses,
past pale newspaper stands,
past plastic TV updates,
past snow-skinned men and rage,
past the incoming traffic,
past starting-to-peel-paint cars,
past gray ghosts in the tailpipes,
forced out by engines again.
Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt
June 14, 2008