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NORTHERN SUBURB

Pastel pink and lime green houses
are big as a story
with their wrap-around porches.

Outside I watch my white breath
rise on the blue air
while inside children with sockless feet
descend cool stairs.

Even poverty is a frozen noun
with no teeth, like a dog scratching
at the stiff lawn, whimpering.

Nothing is a menace here. Cars
are useless at the icy curb,
not a single bird in the black trees.

Everything is sorbet, sherbet, and cream.
Honey-colored skies embrace us.
Water freezes in our pipes.

      — Teresa White