Indifference + Edgewood Creek

by Ed Skoog


When you come, bread will be pulled from ovens,
soot braiding up the bakery’s white stucco,

and freshly-laundered curtains will permit entry
of our famous sunlight through the flowering gauze

to enrage the deep true reds of the valentine
brought home from school and taped to the wall.

Municipal workers will have brushed the streets
with their discs, and the electricity will be working.

Families in lamplight will be watching the news
and learning of your hunger, and what you have lost.

Some of those who still say prayers will say them,
inaudibly, and at the community center donations will

be accepted. To get here, travel the avenue of lies.
The only life on the farms you pass is money.

Let the clouds remind you of a tuning fork,
and believe the faces there are only clouds.

We are not famous for hospitality, but what is fame?
Think of how it would be, if you were merciful, and us.




Edgewood Creek

The frog has appeared on the window,
leaving an imprint as it elbows closer

to what light draws small flies near
and the driveway runs along the house

its small pebbles turning with each pass.
What journeys we have made are done.

The radiator makes its exasperated sigh.
My froglike heart moves so gradually

it never arrives. I learned to back out
of the driveway, craning my neck,

only occasionally driving over the lily
of the valley, the periwinkle, the spirea.

This is my backward speaking. It teaches
the flies to stay ahead of the frog, the light

aspects of the frog’s eyes, which like stars
move to the side. All night the various

elements rearrange themselves. It’s years.
What drains from the roof, what filters

through the small pebbles of the driveway
turning their gates beneath each passage,

what answers the gravity of the alley
pours against the curb of First Street

down into Edgewood Creek, which runs
beneath the city except when a park

needs to hear running water. It makes
the good welcome to whatever draws

down into it, even memory, briefly,
then out into lower and lower rivers.

Ed Skoog is the author of four books of poems, most recently Travelers Leaving for the City (Copper Canyon Press, 2020