Locating N (The Value Of)

Sam Prudente

wood plank fences alternate with chicken wire, stones, red berries
an open doorway is a mouth agape into inner basement darkness
long unhinged, door rotting, its white painted wood overgrown with brush
it had fallen flat on its face and everybody around it ignored its embarrassment
downhill all the way, slowly avoiding slips on the dank golden leaves
a Cadillac hubcap has rolled into the ivy cascading over the rocks
who will hack life-rings around the trees above: deciduous, evergreen?
underfoot neon pink & st. patrick green is spray-painted shorthand by stop #72869:
an x encircled; KB/t; NOBR; ER STWIPG, arrows pointing down and back uphill

a yellow first responder’s jacket is lodged between some large rocks
and between some more, crushed cans of beer as if a volunteer had had a hard day
and forced to take transit close to midnight, kicked back a few and missed the bus
but it is morning now, a pony-tailed Asian woman jogs downhill past me in controlled cadence
a smart Asian woman in her bangs & leisure suit blows leaves away from her stately driveway
high up from the corner where Eastgate Bible Fellowship now shares venues & worship time
with the Korean Yedam Church, there are thirteen cones curbside due to repaving of the sidewalks
but only 5, or 2, or 8 on the other curbs opposite and kitty corner to the signs: Dead End
Private Driveway; Do not Enter; Exit Only—as if the promised salvation were not

Three Iron Truths:
1. Manhole cover marked US West Communications, classic ring waffle design, now rusty. Made
in India. (lies beneath an electric post with a colored poster now losing color: Tabby. Lost
August 26. Answers to the name Tabby; one of many pets lost throughout the neighborhood.
One sees bunnies, birds, racoons skitter along but never lost pets. Coons, crows, maybe would
fight or eat them dead but rabbits, becoming hungry, carnivorous?)
2. Yellow spray-painted hydrant. Markings: WB670250 and Waterous. (Isn’t that glorious!)
3. Drain cover marked: Drain.

even in light rain uphill is always harder than downhill, caution easier than battle
I never turned my back on old friends, but it will all be behind me in a few days if I can get out
Albertson’s now a Safeway; Baskin Robbins, Postal Service and Dominos gone to
make way for Hong Noodle Ramen & Izakaya; Castle Nail Bar did in the dentist & the laundry;
even the Redi Clinic inside Rite Aid closed shop, the sitting room chairs face out now
into the aisle, barricading its entrance, providing instead a temporary respite, so you can sit

and examine the details of The Squatty Potty 2.0: 379617 414940 LN1309 5179 SP 22 2057
(price 24.99 before taxes) why is it so taxing to go when it takes all you know to stay out of
shit, where do you put the boxes marked: conduit underground, extra heavy, well secured
since, specifically, you don’t know where you’ll end up coz when you gotta go; you just gotta go

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