They leveled what was left of the funeral pyres,
Set apart the cold bones, ashes chilled by cold,

And covered over these ashes and bones.

They stand trackside among their tents and tarps.
A dump truck waits until the clearance starts.
A squad car idles at the street’s far end.
Who does their world and ours belong to now?

The city rousts them shortly after dawn.
The workers strike their edgy habitats.
The Cat front-loader coddles the remains.
It plows a casita clapped of bungees and boards.

An elder holds a box of someone’s ashes.
She shouts alarms. Hey, you, leave us alone.
Beach chairs, flip-flops, bathrobes, pails.
A stroller, bike-wheel, blanket, cardboard door.

The bossy truck clears its consumptive throat.
The nomads fade away to some other patch.
The power hose lances the ancient scene
and bleaches what’s left of those not yet dead.

W. S. Di Piero’s recent books are a volume of poems, The Complaints, and Fat: New and Uncollected Prose.

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Published in the May 2023 issue: View Contents
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