Sunlight doesn’t sift through the smog today
and the dirt on the window cannot smudge
further the past. I press against glass, see the dirty
city well into my childhood, into alleys, broken
glass, rats bigger than tomcats,

and two-story apartments seemingly held up
by clotheslines. Mom’s stringing my brother’s
cotton socks and t-shirts. They loom into view
as I stand on the ledge. The breeze is slack,
the air is thick with remorse. Beyond the ledge

to the shadows in the upper room,
I still see his ghost through the window film,
my bedroom around the corner from his.
Walls thin. Loud voices rattle windows,
then gunshots, my brother’s screams,
                                                             and my own.

–John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, and Baltimore Review. He has three poetry collections, including Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, December 2015) featured at the 28th Southern Festival of Books. Nominated for several Pushcart and Rhyling awards, he edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other venues. He’s a retired physicist living between Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN. Visit

–Art: “Tree Nest” Photo by Christopher Woods

Christopher Woods lives in Texas. He has published a novel, The Dream Patch, a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky, and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. Gallery – .

Copyright 2017, John C. Mannone. Copyright 2017, Christopher Woods

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