I liked the place, truth be told,
the begonia gardens menaced
by Doberman pinschers, mushroom
plant slapping your first AM gulp
of air with the tang of dung,
fir and redwood dust flung far
by the chippers and whiny saws
of the lumber yard next door.
What neighbors transited left and right
I hardly cared for, the human transactions
not more than a cut and a quibble
and a polite posturing at the door.
Bill’s and Celia’s cat
dropped moles on my doorstep
as if offerings to a god.
Things hurt there. Pain hung.
My apartment was spare.
My right hand permanently cupped my chin.
I was lean and hungry,
ate frustration and envy out of the air.
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California. He has work in Thrice Fiction, Star 82 Review, and Mobius: Journal for Social Change.