Day After New Year’s

By Michele Vavonese
By Michele Vavonese

By Michael Miller

On the well-behaved days behind the complex gates,
any eyes can volunteer to play police.

This morning, the man in the ironed jacket
appoints himself in charge for a moment,

his slow sidelong gaze at the boys
who loitered too closely to the woman’s garage

enough to send them sauntering off.
In an instant, it ends. Walking alone, he passes the girls

who kneel on a blanket beside the new Volvo
and stack their Legos: two boxes, not shared,

the pinks and blues like his sisters once hoarded
in the house on another block years ago.

He stops to watch. One girl glances, sees him,
the pulse that quivers through her face an instant review

of his dark jacket, anonymity, stare.
They leave the Legos in place, duck past the car.

The small one speaks to a shadow through the door.
The man walks on, faster, the neighborhood filled

with the remnants of last week—wreaths left out
for recycling, extensions, unplugged Santas.

The trimmed lawns, the thresholds lay down their rules.
This year will pay the same price for resolution as the last.

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