Poetry: “Gavone” by Lynn Hoffman

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

doo-wopped, doo-wopped.

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

christmas geese.

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,

to howl.