2 Poems by Christine Taylor

Neighborhood Watch

At the end of our block
a Neighborhood Watch sign
streaked with dark stains
from unforgiving weather
stands on a rusty post.
And although it looks like
it’s been there for decades,
I can’t recall having ever seen it.

I’m waiting for the bus to New York
so I’ve got time,
whip out my phone to Google
“PlainfieldWatch.org.”
Only three active
groups: Hillside, Sleepy Hollow, Van Wyck–
figures, they the ones got bank.

Nothing round here,
ain’t nobody
takin the call.

A beat-up gray Dodge Neon
hooks a left off Front
parks at the curb.
The driver spits out the window
flicks cigarette ashes onto the street
her long fingernails painted red
curls of smoke escape
disappear.

Our block dead-ends at Green Brook
No Thru Traffic.

And she doesn’t live here.

Slow Children at Play.

 

 

She waits

                         at the bus stop
on the corner of Watchung and Fifth,
hands clutching
                                 the strap
of her oversized duffel bag.

    I’m waiting here
                                       too
on a stone bench
                                  for the #59 home
from school.

I hustle to try to get here before
                                                             the others
      ain’t tryin to get caught up
wit them on the sidewalk
                                                   not after last time.

Pigeons peck the edge
of the lawn
                         at City Hall
as the #65 to Broad
                                      rounds the corner,
rusty tire rim
                            scraping the curb.

Road dust and fine gravel
      got the other school kids up in arms
I watch an ant at my feet
                                                   struggle
with a crumb.

The bus halts,
brakes squeal,
delivers
                   an old black man
in canvas cover-alls
through its open doors.

He holds a brown
                                      paper lunch bag,
his shoulders droop.

He looks at the girl
                                      offers her
a nod
              tips his cap.

She looks the other way
                                                opens
her umbrella to early rain,
                                                  cracks
      a wad of gum.

I try to wave
                           fingers flutter
     ghost moths
circling a cracked street light.

I don’t know who’s watching,
                                                           so I hug
my bookbag.

Dirty exhaust smoke
                                         billows
from the bus
     departing.

 

About Christine Taylor

Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey.  She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN:  Journal of Arts & Letters.  Her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass:  A Journal of Poetry, The Rumpus, Eclectica, and The Paterson Literary Review among others.  She can be found at www.christinetayloronline.com

 

Close Menu