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  • Shawn Nacona Stroud

1432 South Limestone Street

1432 South Limestone Street

The whoosh of traffic shifts to the ringing silence

of indifference. I surrender it along with reality, step

up from the sidewalk just like as a boy—

inch toward a house now as aged as I am.

Its white paint has flaked

away like the sun-baked skin

of a Marlboro-smoking snowbird. It’s

all meat and bones these days, and yet

I pass the same overgrown aesculus blitzing

our lawn with buckeyes; the descendants

of long-ago squirrels flit across grass

cleverly avoiding its bitter offerings—

they know what poisons are rooted here.

I remember the fear of this plot, how

once I looked out from that window

now blackened as an emptied eye socket.

Through glass I would admire birds with names

I’d never heard of, charcoal angels—

I loved how they could always rise above

this penury. I wonder as I gaze inside

at hollowed spaces of my childhood

if that little boy is peering out; curtains

a cloak from all the rages of those rooms.

—Shawn Nacona Stroud

This poem previously appeared on the Interboard Poetry Community (IBPC) August 2016


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