Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

January Streetcorners

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

January Streetcorners

Article excerpt

This is the season dreams feel tucked away

far behind hibernation's soundproof door,

surfacing if at all late in the day.

Fragments flash before me, nothing more.

This time of year, to step away from dreams

and out of doors means stumbling over piled

cartons stuffed with yellowing folders-reams

of used-up, yellowing documents all filled

with musty secrets. As if I'd just made

a primly virtuous New Year's resolution

"Mind your own business"-I don't turn my head

to check out what awaits the sanitation

workers. Printouts, correspondence, files

let these go wherever such things go.

My eye is drawn instead to prickly piles

of tossed-out trees on West End Avenue.

This season every corner, each side street

boasts two or three at least in a green heap

some naked, some in garbage bags (black, white,

or clear). Also there is one stranger shape,

an oblong object wholly covered up

in floral fabric. A discarded tree?

So everyone assumes, but no one stops

to take a closer look, including me;

to lift a corner of the cloth and peer. …

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