When Street Meets Us



When Street Meets Us




Before her scream—

pierced the screech


of careening wheels

with the immediate shriek


a shrill horn makes

up neck and back


back down to backs of

knees that buckle us back


back, back, back-words

and safety’s first


breath in ... recalls

something ... sounding ...


like a ... another

hit and (run) (runway)


runaway accident

as neck hairs hackle


as exploring senses are

sent out to locate and ...


(shut up) (shut out) shell up

 against that (violent) (violator)


vehicle colliding our way

our backs bright bait


for the reckless.

The when


we next hear

we first breathe


as windfall

how this lukewarm


 air we turn around in

churns danger


into disgust

snakes our guts


into gutters where

even our puke is small


change when street

meets us.




--- Chris Custer