Home by Philip Cory Cloud

Home by Philip Cory Cloud--Professional/Final Draft

I remember the fading shingles lying down arms
as the moss creeps its artillery slowly across
the crumbling wood, the water corroding steel pipes

causing the ceiling to become chocolate pudding,
and the odor that hissed and tore at my nose like a mix
of oatmeal cookies and a wet cat, in my grandmother’s house.

I remember slogging to Trolley Square in alcoholic
sleet twitchily awaiting the shopping, of course,
and a slice of the infamous Trolley Square pizza.

I would stumble into the hole in the wall pizza shop
with the old photos of Wilmington parading their
nostalgic shades of gray and I would feel at peace.

From the second floor I could see the dawdling mice
going in and out of building on the edge of downtown.
On occasion, a man with a faux tooth smile and a dead poodle

on his head would greet customers claiming to be the owner.
I never believed him when words fell from his mouth
to the floor, as he so often did, with is poor,

bleach stained, barely red shirt sporting the Trolley
Square Pizza logo. Yet, he continued to throw people
this curve ball, and the people kept swinging.

I remember playing in Speakman Park every so often.
Dorothy, from across the street, who had the strength
of a duck, would walk me and my dog, Greta, there

once a week. The giant rocket at the park needed a great
deal of fixing. It would never make it to the moon
with missing rungs on the ladder and paint chipping

to reveal an underbody the color of a hippopotamus.
The rocket did get high enough, however, to allow
me to see the malicious dog fights that occurred on

the 30th street side of the park, the mass of black men
blending together in a large ellipse holding each other
and shouting. I knew what was going on, and I miss it.