Neighborhood Watch

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March 14, 2012 by citronreview

by Ray Shea

A dead hummingbird lay in the road like a broken Christmas ornament, lustrous green wings against blood-spattered white, bill slightly open as if it had just thought of something to say. In the grass nearby a dead hypo, tribal artifact of sad-eyed dope fiends, who dip their beaks the hard way when no one is around.

I defected too late from the sniffer sub-caste. The doctors drilled out the insides of my nose, kludged a new septum from the leftover spare parts and paid me in pills.

Now I glide the streets in the junk warm sun in the dead of night, laughing up blood at discarded junkie signifiers, getting looks from the neighbors.


Ray Shea is a New Orleanian currently residing in Austin. His writing has appeared most recently in decomP, The Whistling Fire, The Rumpus, and the anthology Where We Know: New Orleans as Home. He co-edits the Back of Town blog ( where he writes about the HBO series Treme. He can sometimes be found online at

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