City blue


what skin grows in that basement meat-

locker, our hands numb & bloodied,

skin in flaps from swollen knuckles:


& outside summer blooms in blue light

before dark settles purple-throated,

like we choked it—


warm & stung, we walk together

matching shiners, eye-shine

like hunting dogs when tower-lights

wreathe & catch us—


we know, you & I,

what grows in cold subterranean fields,

what opens to air in heaven shadow


sliced up between sun &

dark & overhead a moon rounded,

blue-faced, waiting for river-tides

to crest before breathing:


we wrap our hands & in the blue shadows

no one looks at us for very long.






mural queen of palmer street

waits out weeknights for latecomers

huffing home high

on bike-tire fumes & acrylic paint


& to make her believe this city

bleeds real still & green she scratches

raw glass-studded lots

unearthing brick & painted bones


with red under-stained fingernails.


& that expressway son of east girard

still marks out time in sparks & roars

from flaming combustion-

engine hearts: boys still race in lip-red cars


taste broke-teethed blood & brass

& bile: he doesn’t need

those cathedral songs reminding him

of all he did when this city & him were just goddamn kids.



millennium weddings

in half-drowned cafes;

catered by veterans from the

bad-old-days & guests line


corporate chemical miles

for the king & the queen

to tear up gentrifiers, rend

through the ease & the rage & the lie.



Lindsay Maruska is a lifelong New Jersey resident. Her poems have appeared in The Rising Phoenix Review and This Broken Shore
Follow her on Twitter @ellle_em