The city has replaced the gunshots
and caged walkways of Cabrini Green
with a Home Design store, condominiums,
and a convention center.
In the shuttered gray-brown valleys that remain
behind the stone and glass
storefronts and housing blocks,
the old New World loiters dreamless
twenty feet from light.
Dumpster echoes creep like thieves
up fire escapes
to rap on rear windows.
Castoffs fight over rubber bands
and needles: bloodshot currency.
Words spill from mouths with no teeth
to hold them back. Arms flail
like angry windmills.
Weeds and moss grow quietly
in the alley corners, raising generations
in silent, green witness
of unfolding Passion Play.
Another cotton-jacketed mannequin,
I file past, holding my face carefully
earthward—eyes forward, fixed.
The alley mouths close behind me.