On the street leading to its heavy doors

no one came out of their homes except

for the occasional dog who ran at a fence

to bark at me as I looked for an iceless

patch of pavement to nail my feet into.

Cars silently emerged from behind me or

from side streets, and came together in

lines that had me drifting toward the

embankments and into driveways, where

I waited for the convoys to pass, and

where sometimes I caught a male cardinal

hauntingly singing from the top of a tall

maple, like a female singer with Duende

reminding us that beauty and the lives

that hold it pass as easily as a child’s cry.

Those winter mornings I felt like I was

travelling alongside monsters of steam

and steel, and where the frost heaves

that could have been human bodies

piled up on the curb, I stepped carefully,

so as not to disturb them. I imagined

myself to be a boy forgotten about in a

war waged by adults that secretly wished

me to become an accident loved

only by the news, and I survived the

prolonged, atrocity show by each weekday

morning keeping my head down and

putting “one foot in front of the other”

until I arrived at this what seemed to me

to be a kind of training facility where

children behind enemy lines would learn

how to kill indirectly with neglect the way

adults who weren’t self-aware enough did.