snaked through a patch
of maples that sliced
the trek to Main Street
in half & placed them
in the alley behind McBride’s
Office Supplies Etc. where a rusted
yellow dumpster often stuffed
with collapsed cardboard & broken

chards of decor —  the lavender
wing of a porcelain archangel, punctured
tubes of acrylics in combat
green & indigo —  beckoned
with their off-key chorus
of throwaways and forgotten
abouts.  On Friday night

she’d uncork a half gallon bottle
of Almaden & by Saturday
night sneak to Bud’s Beverage World
at 11 pm for more. She reached meltdown, 
a can’t-turn-back
point when she’d split into flying
fragments some of which
were infused with indiscriminate
animosity.  Diatribes. Detonations.  Black

outs.  I’ll drive this rattrap straight
into the Kankakee River, then
you’ll be sorry, she snarled.  I’d leave
the house with a hidden hot
splinter of her in me. Fifteen
& undefended, except
for the option of weekend
escape, I’d dart

for the shortcut, where October
maples shift to crimson. My Red Wing
boots thud on the beaten-down
path & I toss myself like a scrap
of mirror into the broken
opportunity of the alley, the bright
anarchy of the dumpster.