Jimmy Street

The fastest byway to the stadium
is Jimmy Street.  It is a secret street
bordered by a murky trench; a glum
parolee of death row lives with a sheet
across his window; neighbors put up chicken
fences to keep him out; the smell is putrid
sludge with molding tires that would sicken
anyone not born there.  And yet with grid-
lock on the interstate, Jimmy takes
you to the diamond’s choicest lot. Just don’t
break down. The rusty cars housing snakes
and coons are a warning; tow trucks won’t
get you.
       And yet, it happened to me one twilight;
time depreciating in the coop
of deadlocked turnpike cars, I took a right
and immediately stalled in Jimmy’s soup
of overflow canal mixed with whatnot.
Walking side-by-side the loose urban
chickens, no cell signal, I crossed a lot
toward a derelict porch where a man
spoke first to me and said —”My taxi, at last!”
Rushing to my car, he took the rear
seat and pointed toward the nova blast
of sodium lights ahead and said the near
gate would do.  The engine turned easily,
and I wondered then as I do now
if it really quit or it was me?
Because a haunted place that will allow
someone like me to trespass at the pace
of footsteps, to take my livery for that
of servants and survive, stalls the race
for boundless coup, marks time by pitapat.

Steven Ray Smith