THE HALF-BATH OF TRACT HOUSING, DETROIT

by Jim Daniels


Between the small bedroom and the kitchen,
hallucinated privacy of sliding doors on both sides.

Paralysis on cold tile between the bruise
of sleep and the curse of the yellow table—

squeezed knees, fear of interruption,
small lighted window of glazed glass

cranked open to let out the human stench.
The subtle blink at the back of every house—

identical 1950s assembly-liners boxed into
a funeral procession for large trees and pheasants—

farmland once, with its own planted rows
without addresses. A sigh echoes

in the flood-lit half-darkness of childhood memory.
Safety wires tied to each hand on the factory line.

Here at home, slack—room to wipe, room to pray,
every drip and plop audible—down the road,

measurements taken, volumes recorded.
Flush. Half bath. Half sink. Face bent

to the tiny mirror, recognition in half-light.

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