walking home birds
on the line wait until traffic
(nonexistent) hits its only lull
before they lift: a cloud: unfurl.
Grackles make no noise this early,
when the heat hasn’t risen
cars rowed on the street sides
bamboo and palms shirring,
leaves guttered and dry.
It will rain today, though later—
like everything, we’ll wait.
Pass the megachurch, the empty
lot. The corner market sign
lit in red dots, shadowed figures behind
glass moving slowly. Hard to tell
at all where they begin and end,
like the night before: cars on Guad,
a bus pulled to the curb: the impression
of people and the things they carry
with them, bags and coats and food
stuff that makes the scene, as it were,
more real. Texture, detail.
We look for objects to confirm a
script, fill in what should be there,
the negative space much harder
to understand. In the night
(telephone wires; a looming statue
of an arm—how much does it weigh?
we wonder) these things blur and what’s
left is smell and sound. Jasmine and palm
leaves. My feet on an unfamiliar
sidewalk. If I could pick a place in
time to live, it might be there.
The morning gone—no rain.
And tomorrow another walk
to the bus stop, alone, before
my neighbors are awake. Mist
burning off with every minute.
Waiting for the bus down
the road, listening for what I know
I’ll hear before I see.