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the view of the alley 2010

Janet Kuypers
(poetry converted to prose)

    there are times when I’d sit on my back porch, on the third floor of my apartment complex, and it was really just a balcony, but it was a place to hang outdoors. all you could really see was the apartment’s back entrance to the alley, and maybe the backs of neighbors’ homes. now, keep in mind that this is Chicago, and as a rule you don’t know your neighbors, and when you’re a city person, you’re used to checking over your shoulder, you’re used to being on your own... so you like having your five foot deep porch with a view of the alley.
    anyway, I’d sit on my back porch, with a glass of wine after work, and I’d watch the neighbor’s garage. you see, they had a separate garage from their house next door on the same alley. now, I don’t think they kept cars in this garage, I mean, if they did, it was probably just to store the cars, because I think the garage was just for storage only, and it must have been full of scrap pieces of wood or something, because I think it was a safe house for them. because I think every time I sat our there on the porch, there would be one or two foot long rats, you know, the kind with an eight inch tail after their foot long body, there would be at least one or two of them moving around there.
    and I know it sounds silly, but I never feared them coming up to my place, because I had an open-air balcony, and I had no food, I think the rats had it made in that garage. and i have to admit, it was always entertaining to just have some wine and watch the rats in the alley from my back porch.

Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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