MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
WHAT’S GOING DOWN
Richie O’Neill signals me from his apartment,
which is directly opposite mine.
He’s waving his dad’s Fulton GI flashlight,
describing tight circles that beam
directly into my bedroom window,
Something important is going down.
Just knowing he’s there, that I’m not alone,
helps me get through
so many days and nights.
All I have to do is peek around
the ugly purple thrift store curtains
my mother hung.
Even though she loves to sew,
she decorated my room
with “feel bad about yourself” drapes.
Thanks, Mom. I do.
Richie and I have a system:
Horizontal swipes mean
come down to the lobby when you can.
But extensive, sweeping circles,
like you might see on a tarmac
when a plane’s lost its landing gear,
mean emergency. Help. Five-star alarm.
(I lost my landing gear a long time ago.)
I open then close my curtains,
signaling my departure.
Then I grab my jacket;
the lobby’s always cold,
except in summer,
when you wish to the Gods of the Bronx
that it would cool off.
But there are no gods
here in the Bronx.
Copyright © 2020 by Barbara Bottner