Everyday Poem #1

I sip hot coffee

watching July sunrise and shimmer in waves

from the potholed black pavement between me and

one man

walking a peaked rooftop

snapping photos of sun-worn shingles

and rusted chimney flashing while

another man

sleeping under a straggly bush no one has trimmed

since the casino arrived on West Broad when

one girl

with a tiny red checked backpack

and cigarette dangling dangerously from her lips

comes into view

Like phosphorous sulfide

dragged slowly over sandpaper

her presence sparks him

scrambling to wake up, stand up,

brush off his filthy shirt and

drag his drawers up to his waist

against gravity pulling them down

as he stomps cracked sidewalk to

come no closer than the cigarette allows

as she struggles against the wind

to keep her gas station Bic lit long enough

to light the damned cigarette.

Time after time she cups the flame

against his anger and the beratement of his words

made visible

by the jerks of his head

the fling of his arms

the spittle in the corners of his mouth

the red heat rising against blackline neck tattoos

the venom of his presence

the abuse of her personal space.

Without blinking,

she crosses five lanes with him screaming at her heels

to get out of the wind–

or choosing to seek it out.

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