A Brief History of Detroit

by Glen Armstrong

Though it’s not supposed to rain until Thursday, the sky is rolling up a purple sleeve to reveal its thunderous muscle. And though another beat-down is imminent, I like the idea of a martyred city, a defiant city, a city that hangs there in front of the clouds. Southbound I-75 eventually fans out into off-ramps, deepening to reveal streets and windows, secret places where people count their friends on one hand, and their spare change in the other, where people want to be loved and feared for the chances they’ve taken at the end of the day when sleep reaches out designed as a three-point safety harness. Amazingly, the thunder makes its way down. No travel guide to this or any other city quite prepares the pedestrian for the little changes that happen when rain anoints the sidewalk unexpectedly.

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.