Revitalization Yields Questionable Results

by | Sep 19, 2013 | Poetry

Nothing was available downtown.

We just ate our city bread, played another


game of pin the sin on the sinner.

My dog could barely keep her belly off


the sidewalk, and nobody blamed

numerous cuts of faulty pork snapped


from one counter or another.

Was I being tailgated by my successor,


or was I the successor? Hopeful

street sweepers shoved newspapers into


the alleys, as if some hand

had momentarily released them, not


slept on them, wiped with

them. Once this corridor was determined


a resurrection zone, but that

will never explain the trail of sweaters


or the fence spiked with

empty lipstick tubes: a golden beacon


until you get up close

and realize it’s another shaming device.


Only some people high

on the corner weren’t walking anywhere.


Half the pigeons participated

in a rumble over spilled coffee grounds


while the slackers eluded

all awareness of nylon boots, or traffic,


or the crotchety gasoline

of a sun far too loose with its flares.






Photo by Diego Torres Silvestre

About The Author

Mary Biddinger

Mary Biddinger’s most recent poetry collection is O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2013). She is also co-editor of The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared in Crazyhorse, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, and Sou’wester, among others. She teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Akron, where she edits the Akron Series in Poetry and Barn Owl Review.