Dusk in the neighborhood of mimes
by Karen Craigo
Here, men in striped shirts
walk dogs I canŐt see
and women buff air
for want of windows.
My neighbor stands back
in his naked home,

eyes what might be a painting
above his couch.
He nudges one side
then the other, gives a nod,
briskly wipes palm
against palm.

I never look away
when he steps into his shower,
works a cake of nothing
into a lather, mouth
opening and closing
on toneless song.

No one who needs words
can survive here.
Sometimes my husband
comes home late
with greasepaint
on his collar, the scent

of transparent roses
on his skin.
He does not try to speak,
knows I will not hold
with the general consensus
that two hands can be a bird

winging through sky.
Last night I sighed out loud
and earned a sideways look
from the block watch volunteer,
who jotted furious notes
into his palm.

He doesnŐt trust me,
fat and pink, seeming not to notice
the walls that press
around me, even though
next door they are plainly
clawing the air.

This poem was first printed in Defined Providence.