17. Tucson Murder

This neighborhood is infested
with barking dogs and police
sirens. I want to murder
the repetitious noise reverberating
down these streets and singing
my neighbors to sleep.

And chemicals seep
from the pores of the nightwalker
slinking past my bedroom window
at 2 am. I don’t need a barking dog
or helicopter hum to know
he’s there. I hear his shoes
crunching on the gravel.

A ribbon of sage smoke twirls
around my room, and I am protected.

But that dog grew three decibels
lower in tone since June and I hope
this new owner isn’t as deaf as -

Her dog barks incessantly
because her husband is in rehab;
their grandson creeps between
the fence and shed, tinkers
with the fuse box, hides
under a ratted tarp. His mother
threw him across a room
when he was an infant, and his father
doesn’t hear him say
“dad, dad, dad” repeatedly

like the car alarm no one hears,
like the barking dogs that no one
hears, like the crunching on the gravel
that only I can hear
this town is full of murder.