The Man in the Blue House ~ Thom Caraway


He walks the alley, hammer in hand, and taps nails
back into fences. Sometimes he is Dmitri,
sometimes Anton. Other times, he doesn’t know.

He scavenges pallets for the man across the alley,
rebuilds them and piles them in the bed of a pickup.
He yells, accuses no one, You can’t hide! His screams
another note in the white noise of the neighborhood.

At night he tends a fire of scrap lumber
between his house and the neighbor’s garage.
The orange glow lights the alley. Come the winter,
low clouds heavy with snow will glow the same color.

The chickens roost, making small noises back and forth.
A cat is stuck on a roof, yowling hungry all night.
This is how we settle in, October air loose in our mouths.