By Peter Neil Carroll
Bitter winter in the City of Lakes,
a good car, a strong-hooded coat
separate life and death. Skid into
a snow drift, the cops won’t find
you frozen stiff until morning.
January, February, March, even
April before the noose loosens, boots
vanish, weight of wool lifts, bare
arms appear. By May, friends may
pause to chat on leafy streets.
In the year of Covid-19, cabin fever
exceeds claustrophobia, even lawful
citizens crave escape. Masks hard
to come by, kids hang at corners
flirting; the aroma of grass drifts by.
At 8 PM a black man stops for smokes,
passes a fake bill. Cops do what they
do, cuff him, put a knee on his neck
and wait. It’s hard to watch, hard to
breathe, hard to believe it never ends.
Peter Neil Carroll’s most recent collections are Talking to Strangers (Turning Point Press) and This Land, These People: The 50 States which won the Prize Americana in 2022. He is Chair Emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.