Night Fall

10 floors down
A girl crossing the square
Calls out a cheerful tipsy
“G’night !!!”

In the dry fountain
A bronze water nymph
Bares a single small breast
through her careless gown

Insulated in shadow
A homeless man has encamped around a park bench
His chest, a metronome of coughing
As though his spark is missing on one cylinder

From black trees and lampposts
Holiday lights hang
Celebrating to no one

10 floors up
In a gracious pre-war
A pensioner stands looking down

The paned window yawns wide
Exhaling heat into cold

The air settles heavy
On New Year’s night

Distant sirens chirp and howl
without harmony

An ersatz constellation of scattered city lights
Reflects deep in the black glass of an office tower
Giving the illusion of depth

10 stories down

To the pavement

Gutters drink
Open throated
The dirty water of
A dirty quarter

Brick pipe storm drains connect the streets to the river
Water joins water
Sliding under derelict barges, tethered to buoys,
Turning clockwise on the heaving pulse of ebb and flood

A bus approaches slow
Empty but for the driver
Pushing hollow air before it
Splashes erupting through the rippling mirror light of puddles

Puddles filling potholes
Potholes like lunar craters
The moon so bright and sterile
A crummy satellite covered in potholes
Stealing light

The bus makes its turn and recedes
The soft sound of its gas motor joins with the sound of accelerating rain

Back in the park
Squirrels sleep
While rats forage for missed peanuts
Left out by tourists and children

The last of the taxicabs idles
in front of the old Paradigm Hotel
Waiting out the quiet

A New Year’s rain
Washes away nothing