Delaford Street by Ann Howells

Assassins crouch behind an oleander hedge turned yellow in rejected city light. Textures and folds are visible within the darkness. Flies in mournful swarms descend. Bombings might become less common did we not seek to read about them so avidly. Protest groups named with forced acronyms picket the door; I consider turning off the neon sign. Suburbia ages badly. Junk yards. Pawn shops. Strip clubs. Tattoo parlors. Derelict storefronts, windows covered with brown paper or For Lease signs. XXX Videos. A defunct Burger King offers cash for scrap metal. Homeless are afraid to sleep on the lawns. Jays squall in their angry language. The peppery scent of tomato plants. The bass line to “Cocaine” filters through manmade space. Eric Clapton. I haven’t thought about him in ages, feel grateful when someone finally presses pause. This cannot be a panic attack (perhaps a minor skirmish). My carport has been swept and cleared; at least, that’s what I’ve been told.

Ann Howells, of Dallas, Texas, has edited Illya’s Honey eighteen years, recently digitally at Publications: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag), Under a Lone Star (Village Books),  Letters for My Daughter (Flutter), Cattlemen & Cadillacs –DFW Anthology (Dallas Poets Community), and Softly Beating Wings (Blackbead) William D. Barney Chapbook Contest winner 2017.