Central Brooklyn

by Dennis Nurkse

Dennis Nurkse

Behind the tenements lay wild gardens;
a swaddled fig tree, a Muscat arbor.
I propped my forty-foot ladder against a shim
and climbed and began searing the high porches
with a butane torch. I gouged away dead bees,
resin, gum, soot from forges, caulk. Once
the lovers opened their blind and watched
with pursed lips, hand in hand, her breasts
swaying slightly, his penis limp, their gaze
imperious and forgiving, and I missed a spot.
Then I painted white on white, when I finished
those streets were empty, no one lived there
except the rich, chalk-faced in their long divorce.

Last updated December 21, 2022