Red Doors

by Joe Bueter


The smell some nights
_____could’ve simply been the marsh.
_____Or crustaceans and bacon grease.

Once insignificant of sin, like all land,
_____god visited this friable acreage twice—
_____once in making, once in audit—

when god did range. Both times were
_____quick, maybe efficient.

Recently the county painted a bike lane
_____for the courageous, the driven self-healers
_____of port-to-port rides, sponsored signs.

Could’ve been their sweat or
_____the sweet-smelling diesel of barges on the river
_____or of 3 a.m. truck races passing each red light

of the abandoned Coast Guard relay towers.
_____Could’ve been the wind from the city

resting here. Could’ve been the two executed men
_____slowly sinking under the cordgrass and the light
_____inodorous spiders, who stepped

with their incredible knees
_____over the metal-blown wounds of flesh and sand.
_____The smell at night could’ve been all of this.

But not the locks of the new, red-doored condos—
_____all of them red against pestilence.


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