Lately I lean against the porch post at night

in the hum and glare of streetlights,


and given the season, some nights I listen

to the tinny arrival of sleet on dormant cars,


while the neighbor next door—a military vet,

the bartender at the corner tells me—


curses the walls. The harsh electric light

splatters through chain-link, across yards,


and my house’s corner cuts it, leaving

its trace in shadow. So many nights


the man’s screams assail me. Why do we do

what we must know should never be done?



John Hyland’s recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Borderlands, Harvard Review, Laurel Review, and descant.

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