Boys of the Neighborhood

Temptation was only a formality
Dropping our bicycles by the muddy

Driveway, where pickup trucks were
Scattered on weekdays, we would
Climb into the still porchless

Frame of the new house. Pale
Wood exposed like popsicle sticks
We would wander, leaving footprints

Behind and wonder what the different
Rooms would be used for when the
Smell of sawdust was replaced
By cinnamon and roast beef. We

Didn’t fear getting caught, two acres
Between us and any neighbors who, at worst
Would call our mothers or were our mothers.

From then on we’d watch the house, waiting for grass
To grow; pickup trucks replaced by moving vans
Hoping the tenants would have kids our age and

Invite us over to their new house
Show us around, not knowing that beneath
Their carpets and linoleum, our footprints
Remained like fossils.




Thomas O’Connell is a librarian living on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, NY, where is his the 2015-2016 poet laureate. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in Caketrain, The Los Angeles Review, The Broken Plate, and Blue Earth Review, as well as other print and online journals.