Perhaps I needed a separate cart

for my hair, or anything else crouched


on my back. My heart: a dumpy paper

coaster. I was making history


useless, just like the textbooks we had

with our parents’ names shaved


into back covers. I could not un-light

the weekly paper on fire, but


could forget the way an Oldsmobile

burned on four cinderblocks


in the Chicago of my childhood,

where every car was an Oldsmobile


on blocks, and sometimes blocks

and blocks of houses went up, so all


the mothers brought their grape soda

and gin to the curb. Houses so


close together I could slap the neighbor

girl’s face through the shag peak


of a corridor elm. Some roofs

were patched with corrugated plastic,


the occasional refrigerator box.

So when I boil everything, including


the boy’s sneakers, I am using intrinsic

knowledge. The incorrect guide


book where we would scratch out

the year 1965, send strangers down


roads that burned years ago,

to a bakery now covered by gravel.






Photo by Tim