The workers bleached the walk, all afternoon
The motor sound of the pressure wash,
Chlorine. The signposts were scrubbed. The red
Brighter than ever. A simple pensioner
I sacrificed myself to lesser colors: chartreuse,
Ambergris. The red had to go. I’m not
A moralist about this, not at all. No steel-rod
Constructions in my spine, I bend with the times
Still. I look at red and see ruins. My City. You
Can’t understand how packaged
The whole thing remains. How they talked for days
In dust free rooms. Dustless worlds, in fact.
They had none of it in their bodies. They didn’t miss
It. They wore their gills proudly. The simians hunted
Them for sport. I had put options on both sides,
A straddle. I can’t tell you who won but the roads are much cleaner
Now. If you don’t mind all the water, the wipers
Constant flapping. They know me
On this corner. I look good in this light.
Claudia Grinnell was born and raised in Germany. She now lives in Louisiana, where she
teaches at the University of Louisiana, Monroe. Professor Grinnell is the author of Conditions Horizontal (Missing Consonant Press, 2001). Her poems have appeared in such journals as Kenyon Review, Exquisite Corpse, New Orleans Review, Mudlark, and Minnesota Review. In 2005, Dr. Grinnell won the Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.