May 1, 2016

Street Sweeper

Street Sweeper


by Kevin Casey


                   Fairfield Street, Boston, 2003

Backed into their corrugated caves, the plow trucks
hibernate, and now the street sweeper has returned

from its slow migration, crawling like a marigold snail
beneath my half-opened sash. When winter had grown

out of its charm, its midnight storms magnified
our isolation, and we waited for the rumbling

scythe to glide through the boulevard, its low lullaby
echoing along the brownstones, clearing away

the burden of our separate solitudes. The sand
it scattered never seemed to measure up to much

until the rains came, and the storm drains grew choked
with rivers of silt. Inside, little changed with the seasons —

the tilt of morning light across the paths we wore
throughout these rooms, the tapping of the radiator’s

cryptic code grown fitful, then silent. You left to make
your own way long before the sweeper returned,
tracing waves of scoured pavement in its wake.


Kevin Casey’s work is forthcoming or has appeared recently in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Gulf Stream, Chiron Review, and other publications. His chapbook “The wind considers everything” was published last year by Flutter Press, and another is due later in 2016 from Red Dashboard. For more, visit

Image: “Snow in Government Center Plaza”, from the City of Boston Archives