The Urban Landscape

What he doesn't realize
is that some of us fall
between the cracks.

Some of us, who, on paper
seem crack-resistant,
stain-resistant, resistance-resistant.

But the cracks don't seem to care.
if your shoes are worn through or brand new
if your stride is dignified or rarefied.
No, the cracks don't seem to care.

I have observed a few individual cracks,
week-by-week and month-by-month
in the alley beside my grandma's place
where we'd go every Sunday after mass
and play handball.

There were always small rifts in the concrete,
but this one upwelling,
this one mighty mississipp’ of a crack,
a river of earth
the root of a sycamore
just kept on rising.
The source of many do-overs.

These cracks were out of control all around town. 
I asked around the neighborhood, what's with these cracks?
Most people had nothing to say.  
Perhaps they didn’t notice.  

But the old man 
who smokes cigarettes 
outside the corner store 
who had answer for any question,
told me this -
(after his usual ponderous pause).

The city is no longer paying for new sidewalks
but these cracks
will keep on coming.

Some will fall soon, others later on.
Sometimes it's a mere trip -
a caught heel, a twisted ankle.

Other times, well ... other times
folks are just swallowed up whole.