Police-Chalk Outline . . .
Police-chalk outline of a dead man
stands up and starts tap-dancing.
That’s the opening scene. It occurs
on sidewalk outside a bar; people
gather, cars honk. Close-up: black
young woman, lovely, shrugs. “Maybe
it’s a song and dance,” she says, begins
singing, and all the colors brighten.
As her words pass through the dancing
outline, they become birds, rising,
spreading. Blue jays, orioles, cardinals,
red-winged blackbirds. Some merge
into cranes. Our point of view is now
above the city, which is a Monopoly
board in “Old Maid” Celia’s garage
next door when I was young and her
niece Anne came to visit summers.
She led games we neighborhood kids
played long, long before I was aware
of police-chalk outlines of dead men.
Sometimes I moved the little racing
car, sometimes the little top hat.
Dennis Trudell is the author of Fragments in Us: Recent & Earlier Poems (University of Wisconsin Press). His stories and poems have appeared in many journals, including previously AGNI Online. Trudell’s poems have been reprinted in more than twenty anthologies. (5/2011)