Change at Seventh Avenue

The once familiar always convenient
and never too expensive supermarket
had its sliding glass doors slide
shut forever now the aisles
run in parallel course toward
the wrecking ball

while just across Osborn a letter
is missing from the SUPERST R sign
that survived the fire that took the store
including its stock of rental movies
from comedies along the east wall
to those in the screened off section set
aside for adults. Meanwhile,

the rehab building on Seventh Avenue
where a man once lay face down
after being stabbed in the back
is pale and empty but for echoes
trapped inside from lonely cries for help
with just the shadow remaining

of the woman who left the premises
calling out I might just cut somebody’s throat
so don’t let people near me
please sir as she carried her little dog over
the crosswalk on red toward
what used to be a restaurant and was
a different restaurant before that
and so on all the way

back to when this was desert
and change came as heat breaking open
to release a flood that swept
whatever lay in its path
away into the time

language was the sky speaking
and only had a present tense.

David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. A recent collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird, is out from Hoot ‘n Waddle, based in Phoenix. Read other articles by David.