In our dreams the picket lines
were picket fences. In our dreams
you could run your fingers
between the two halves

of the city. Close enough
to taste the mustard greens
cooking in the neighbor’s kitchen,
your mouth filling with tears.

You could even follow the line as it curved
like parentheses through the streets and
see everything it held back

the way a dam holds the lake behind it,
or a calendar year keeps at bay
the years piling up before it.