Shopping Carts

Shopping carts discarded on lawns

beached like turtles immobile

on their backs in the sand

delineated “bad” neighborhoods in our new city.

We were a thee shopping cart neighborhood

which improved over the years as the city sprawled.

Here was where I learned

not to walk home, alone after dark

or to cross the street if I saw a man

walking alone.

“Do you know that that's called?”

my mother asked, urgently.


The word repeats itself

every time I see a shopping cart,

sinsiter in a dark alley

or a stranger in my periphery

as I walk home alone at night quickening

my steps until I am almost