is that place where the cops
don’t leave the ladder
leaning against the house
for three days, the alarm
blaring so the whole damn world
knows you’ve been gone
for at least a week–
where they at least pick up the dead rat
outside McDonald’s
or the tennis shoes
from the middle of Woodward
where the child got hit
instead of leaving them
like some sort of admonition;

heaven, she supposes
is where the thief
who gets in at night even if you are home
does it discreetly,
almost Biblically,
stealing only the important things
in such a way
that you think
you’ve merely misplaced them–
the earrings in a pocket maybe
or the wedding ring
on the back of the sink
instead of tearing the place apart
ransacking even the children’s room
as if they own stock in Mattel or Fisher-Price
and hide it in the Play Family Village;

heaven, she supposes
might even be that place
on Lenox Street
where the curtains were yellow
and the cutlery matched
if only her Mama’d taken her
in her arms
and said, O Baby
why didn’t you tell me?
instead of smacking her
until her eyes swelled shut
as if not being able to see
the man she made her
call Daddy
sneak into her room
at night
would mean it hadn’t happened.

O God, she thinks,
somewhere in the desert
there must be a cold stream
where you can lie down
and let the water turn the blood
to ice in your veins–
let you be sucked under
just long enough
so that when you come up
(if you come up–if you have to)
it is someplace downstream
where, even if it is the Detroit River
at least you’ll be numb
so that when
you catch your reflection
it’ll be for just long enough
that you won’t be
totally mystified
that life could be
entirely different.

From New Millenium Writings
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