Noel Sikorski


Though it hasn't rained for days, to walk the street

you have to sidestep the puddles, stinking of sewage,

the asphalt milfoil, and what you are reminded of

are the glorious blackberries of your mother's yard,

so deeply dark they looked dyed. Sun-struck, season

weary, the swollen berries bled onto your fingers

and the briar drew a following of flies, a glistening mass

that billowed like a blanket. Beyond the swarm,

through the dark oaks dividing houses, past half-empty

kiddie pools, something catches in the blades

of a lawn mower, maybe the head of a doll. Plastic

stretches before it tears, distorting like your own face

in a mirror after staring so hard your eyes leak and pool

at the collar, what you might offer to a man

like a wishbone. But then you remember that picture

taken of you sucking on chicken bones, barbecue sauce

rouging your cheeks. That's the night your mother says

make a wish, tug it, take it from me. You can't.

And, anyway, nothing happens when it snaps.