Sounds of the Street

They didn’t catch the shooter
despite all those barricades
and the helicopters
and a hell of a lot of cops
so now
the reporters have left the neighborhood
and the politicians are gone
and police are no longer any kind of presence
and we are left
with our thoughts
and a memory of blood
and, perhaps, still, the shooter.

We walk our streets quickly,
rushing from the train
to the home at night
and back again in the morning.
We speak less to each other
with diminished eye contact.
Which of us can be sure
we are not speaking to the escaped shooter?

Me,
I lay at night,
head on pillow,
listening to sounds of the street,
wondering if every slapped step on the pavement
will be followed by a gun’s crack.
I am intent on hearing,
hoping, perhaps,
to dodge any stray bullets
aiming to strike me in bed.

I don’t want to live like this.
I want to sleep at night.

With the sun,
I shall rise
and struggle through the day
and hope that I feel more comfortable
in my community
in my city.

I don’t know how that can ever happen
until the shooter
is caught,
but I don’t see how that will ever happen
unless the shooter strikes again.

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