TO 170 RIDGEWOOD, WHO I KNEW ONCE BUT NO LONGER
The double-hung window is painted shut
the first day, & when we scrape it open with
a boxcutter, a razor blade falls out & a
cigarette butt lies in the pane.
It will be so easy to come of age here.
Chris is yelling about the reno crew and I’m standing
in the remaining August humidity too punchdrunk on
this life to feel real. The outside steps are the same
granite as City Hall and the upstairs rooms aren’t
quite finished but to me, there’s nothing better than
being part of a story in progress.
And the story progresses--
it’s the first night surrounded by boxes in my undecorated room.
It’s grocery shopping & coming home with lettuce & La Croix &
just ordering take-out from Imperial instead.
It’s left-side street parking after midnight & saying hi on the stoop
to Next Door, who chainsmokes each sundown like clockwork.
It’s waving to his daughter in the driveway.
It’s when he dies that winter & my roommate listens to paramedics through the wall.
Election day 2016 and I’m pulling my pillow over my head.
The accident mid-winter & the Jeep door caving in.
The break-in mid-spring & the 911 call in the living room.
The radiator hissing & the cat sleeping beneath it.
The church bells up the street & I’m pulling my pillow over my head.
The cat in the papasan chair.
The empty vegetable crisper.
The overflowing bookcase.
The snow-covered streets overlooked by the city.
The red front door.
The road trip to Rochester,
the end of the world.
Becca Hartman is a Leo sun/Libra moon, a college graduate, a vegetarian, and a barista from Buffalo, NY. In her spare time, she is most likely traveling, proofreading friends' med school papers, or listening to Bright Eyes--still, in 2018. Her work has previously been featured in the Rising Phoenix Review.