Leaning with me over yellow CAUTION tape

stand a self-proclaimed engineer chewing a burrito,

an olive skinned boy with bottle cap eyes,

a chatty retiree who remembers this old street in the 40’s

when the city first installed “those fancy street lamps.”


Down in the dig

knots of cables worm out of dirt walls,

tangle across the brown puddle at the bottom.


The raw and real history of buried farms

mix with the stench of the city’s backside,

exhaust fans of cafés and grills,

burnt onions and garlic, leftover meat,

fish heads, decaying fruit, grease pits,

sewer gas, the droppings of apartment dogs,


and with them the smell

of a young woman in a church pew

bristling with sex and motherhood and anger,

wiping my cheeks clean with spit and tissue paper,

her early morning breath exotically rank

through the hasty smear of blood ripe lipstick

and a sudden wet kiss.


I will come here each day

until the trench is sealed

to sort the scents and smells

given up

from this crypt of failed dreams.