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ALLEY ONE

14 March, 2012

I’ve a beautiful view of the alley

where a number of strange things and sad go on of an evening.

Some nights it is slept in or, perhaps more accurately,

died in until morning resurrection

when the trash bin is rolled from the tomb’s door.

A dead end facing eternal winter, no sun has shown

on this patch of earth in forty years, and dawn here

is more a matter of degree than of rosy herald.

Oh, a small penetration of light is made at its mouth

in certain seasons and times

but this is as finite as the terminator of the moon.

(That moon, when kind, does lend its grey light ghostily,

straining its voice to reach the impossibly high

white note.)

Bottles lie ‑‑ some smashed, some whole ‑‑ drained

of the vine from nether regions of sun and stars and rich earth,

imported to these halls for warmth, wishes, and hope.

Odd how the bottles pretend to hide their corruption

in tight paper bags, yet reveal it as a shroud,

twisted ’round their necks, announcing death.

Have I said that the alley is sad?

Once a child, rare youthful visitor, appeared

in a corner and huddled for some time.

The child then stood as if to gather resolve and went forth

depleted but stern.

I approached not the child, already a host for suffering,

lest my own darkness extinguish the small flame

which bade her finally stand and go.

In the day, small, tattered women clutching

wrinkled groceries scuttle by,

quickly eyeing the shadows for assumed evils.

An occasional rag and bottle cart wheels in

to find no real treasures and squeaks off

muttering.

For myself, I fill the bin with paper plates and plastic spoons ‑‑

with dust and old pictures

and wait for night to take me home.

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From → Stories & Poetry

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