The House Next Door
by Laurie Ellwood


Walking the streets,
apart and in numbers
without fear, fists clenched,
pipes blazing. The mind,
clear only to self.

Brenda makes
a wonderful lover.
Justin takes her there.
There is no one else
to turn to. No one here
to tell.

In this peaceful town,
it is morning now.
Brenda's red bikini
shades the lamp
in the hall. It is quiet
come the afternoon.

No one knows
what happened
with Justin, the animal.
Some lover. Brenda says
he left her there.
Found him curled
on the bathroom floor,
blue in his face, his fist
still clutching the pipe.

He was such
a good boy
his mama will say.
She screams,
waking up the neighbors
for the morning procession
through the street, passing by
that wretched house on the corner.






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