“O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell,
and count myself a king of infinite space—
were it not that I have bad dreams.”
Two years we watched our neighborhood collapse—
playgrounds barren, all the swing sets taken down.
The cops go mad. Sixteen children in a year cut
like paper dolls; no leads except the body count.
The ice cream vendor’s temper suffered. No kids
turning blast pops into blue and orange tongues
sent him to his workshop drunk and screaming.
Three cops on Elm Street—they were to blame.
Their children still alive while ours are snatched
while skipping rope. Their little bodies cradled
by the cold morgue’s table retires six coroners.
Housewives close their kitchen windows tight
and rock the bottles that replace their kids.
The prosecutor given Krueger’s case assured
he’d rot behind the bars of Ohio Penitentiary.
Prepared to hear about his nun mother raped
in Westin Hills, his alcoholic foster dad nasty
with the belt. Instead, was sloppy paperwork—
a judge’s unsigned warrant. We wanted him
to burn—our faith in law mutilated like his
little victims, their spilled insides black and red
he played them like pieces on a checkerboard.
Gas cans doing what the justice system can’t,
we went on with our lives. Surviving children
block out horrors save one song to jumprope to.
Fathers put the swings back up, and char in grills
enough flesh for an infinite number of backyard
barbeques. Smoke that rises like a sleeper from
their dreams, darkens every cloud above our heads.
Mothers know the street will never be the same.