I was here before you and you
and youse especially.
When there was room to hide
on downwind side of brownstone stoop
or in the alley by Carmine’s
where me and Eddie
I owned the street.
It was wild then
feral, forest, lamppost trees
offa parking lot steppes.
and we were the wolves
or the pups anyway
and we feasted: red-gravy sheep
and bitches-man, there was bitches.
There was gods here then,
the hydrants, mailboxes and mammas
it was like Easter Island and
everybody watched and nobody saw.
Now the Christmas lights on the Avenue
are all white and polite and there’s
nobody left to sniff the ground,
to bare their teeth,