“Lifeline” by John Alexanderson


My neighbor June died in her kitchen this afternoon.

Blackclad men silenced the blonde speaking on her TV,
gurneyed the sack zippered like a frown out her own front door
to their spotless county van, sealed its hatch shut, whisked away
past leashed spaniels, schoolkids, a greyhaired crossing guard.

Kids at play will soon head inside. It’s dark much earlier now.
A business jet passes overhead, right on schedule. They are
up there every evening, martini runs on glidepaths to Trenton,
North Philly, Morristown. I never wondered where until today.

A utility truck rumbles past, just beneath the overhead wires, headed
for that substation by the railroad. An eighteen-wheeler clipped a cable
across the street one summer, burst power from our homes. This evening,
her window-nightlight candles appeared on cue for no need or reason.

In an hour our daughter will drop off her recycling. She says
she can’t afford to have it picked up. The man next door arrives,
his beagle squirts out the van door, threats and gestures in his wake.
June’s arthritic Plymouth waits at her curb, choked with wet leaves.


About Sørina Higgins

Sørina Higgins is a writer, English teacher, and Inklings scholar. Sørina serves as Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Signum University and teaches English at King's College and Lehigh Carbon Community College. She has published two books of poetry, "The Significance of Swans" and "Caduceus."

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