Suydam Street
by Rob Cook

  1. For the evening’s entire vodka voyage
  2. the out-of-work pizza delivery man
  1. watches over his parking tickets
  2. that blossomed halfway into seagulls.
  1. He dry-drowns each in its own drawer
  2. and waits for the scent of slit open sick bags,
  1. which is his own scent, to guide him
  2. until night's last remaining lantern doll
  1. kneels into the Raritan
  2. and starts eating from the skin
  1. of the dawn-sick, keg-cramped
  2. current, the bloated bodies of bus lights—
  1. and by now he knows
  2. someone’s building dark-side
  1. New Brunswick out of the very same
  2. brain matter—traffic lights
  1. that haven't slept since before
  2. they were made, a blown-out bicycle
  1. by the rape lots, pale ghost girl jogging
  2. between College Avenue and Douglass—
  1. He listens through heat stroke
  2. curtains and headphone distortion
  1. where he still hides his voice,
  2. blackmailed by the scratchy tap water
  1. and the cheering, second-floor
  2. mermaids he could have saved,
  1. at one time and one time only,
  2. from the memorized frat house fire,
  1. along with whatever smoke
  2. he helped bag up and haul away,
  1. once the drinks wore off, once the night,
  2. like the glow of a good lie, was gone.
Packingtown Review – Vol.12, Fall 2019

Rob Cook's latest book is The Charnel House on Joyce Kilmer Avenue (Rain Mountain Press, 2019). His work has appeared or will appear in Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Epiphany, Crab Orchard Review, Caliban, Verse Daily, and Best American Poetry 2009, among others.

  1. Joseph Heathcott
    Shops in Jackson Heights, Queens, 2014art