The Address Painters

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Again this summer, lugging
behind them their red wagons stacked
      with paint cans, they are coming.


They call to our street's evening-
lacquered lawns. Look,
      it is the address painters I say


to the hibiscus, who lift
from the hose's ablution their ruby
      heads. They arrange,


the men, their stencils
on the neighbors’ curb. I close
      the faucet & watch. Once


he had razed the ancient, plague-
stricken districts of Paris, the Baron
      Haussmann assigned to each


dwelling a letter sequence. & so
the great administration of late
      capital commenced. Cubicles


for miles. The sky itself streaked
with flight plans. The painters trace
      next to the address the red,


white, & blue of the flag. The black
background glistens. This
      summer the number


of unemployed is the lowest yet headlines
say. The sweet pea
      has taken root beautifully


in its bed of clover. & they are towing,
now, to my own easement their squeaking
      wagons, as once—


his renovations failed, plague
racing through Haussmann's
      arrondissements—the paupers


wheeled their carts of dead. All day
they have painted
      our curbs. Their shirts


dark with sweat, they tell me
the price. Please,
      they say. I pay


cash. I ask them
to make it new. They kneel
      in my suburb's street.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015