Every night the murderers cruise the neighborhood.
Sometimes they wield golf clubs, sometimes Uzis
or canisters of gas or syringes dripping
heart attacks. Their headlights
shine down the cul-de-sac and back
leaving a cloud of sweet exhaustion.
They call themselves harvesters
and comb the mowed lawns
with footsteps heavy as the odor
of four-o’clocks opening at dusk.
We call them hellhounds, keep the doors
locked till dawn, try to sleep without dreaming.
With daylight we make coffee, step
outside for the news, walk dogs,
go to work. Most mornings we won’t notice
the ambulance stopped down the street,
lights flashing, or the crime scene tape
as it catches the sun in its latest tangle.
Editor’s Note: A long time ago, I read Aeschylus’ The Eumenides (in translation). I remember the difficulty of determining what justice means. This poem captures that sense of tragedy and applies it to the modern era. Allegory is a sharper than the sword.