it’s far too cold for wandering alone without a coat,
just harsh enough to stay at the window looking out,
hand pressed against the pane.
the streets are full of strangers carrying burdens
no one can guess. there are no replacement parts left;
i see it in their faces.
(some days i don’t fret so much about nuts and bolts,
planned obsolescence; other days this machine
of flesh won’t let me forget.)
once you’ve left the house there’s no turning back.
it doesn’t matter that you have a spare key,
that’s not what will save you.
curl up like a beggar sheltered in the church vestibule,
but leave your faith behind; you’ll find time enough
come morning to believe.
those bruises; they’re not from sleeping on concrete
or fists against skin. you got them from the soft places
where you thought you were safe.
it’s ok to make plans if they ease you, just know:
traffic alerts are meaningless, love is homeopathic
and fear is musky like pheromones.
as long as the bombs land somewhere else, we’re free.
• • • •
Honorable Mention, New Millennium Writings, 2005
Published in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Volume XVII, 2006
Published in Magee Park Anthology, 2006