Photograph by Michael Howarth (2022)
“. . . everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned . . .”
- W. B. Yeats
In the rain, pale chalk handprints,
yellow and blue pastel, melt
and fade to uneven green,
bleeding down the driveway apron,
running fast to the waiting street.
On sidewalk squares, the hopscotch
grid blurs and flows away, leaving
just faint memories of digits
and once straight lines, its simple
meaning now forever gnostic.
On the street, orange cones circle, linked
by yellow tape with black letters, as wind
curves the tape to shallow gutters that
catch rain running to rivulets, cascading
to the cracked and broken pavement.
In the rain, all flows downward,
spilled blood and oil blend
in water that, once clear, now clouds,
speeding through drains and dark sewers
to the obscure river miles beyond.