Street Wash (2020)

by Kathy Jacobs


In my neighborhood
last November
a large doe lay
on a driveway
Glass-eyed and gutted
carcass gaping and empty
Entrails draped over
a sagging brown box,
pelted by buzzing flies
Her blood intermingled 
with lawn sprinkler runoff
Who was this hunter
to decide 
the local kids needed
a reality check 
about death?

In Chicago this summer
lives dripped into streets
from bullet holes
Poured over feet
of children
Who later played
where gutters
ran pink
After the hydrants
were opened

In my town this December
loss is in isolation
Outside the nursing home
relatives peer through rain-
spattered glass
Hoping the loved ones inside
understand 
Caregivers’ faces are hidden,
anonymous
Weariness etched 
in their eyes
Muffled wheezes echo
in hospital hallways
Cloistered lungs ache
with ground glass 
The statistics are sterile
Detached and monstrous
Devoid jarring stench 
Absent violence and viscera
An undeclared war
with washed casualties

Yet in this year of dying
I find myself returning
To Chicago streets
and deer



Kathy Jacobs is a retired professor of nursing. She has been poems published in anthologies from the Nebraska Writers Guild and Plainsongs. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

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