Jerseyworks poetry        


Saint Cloud Alleys

It's different looking down
this small town kind,
each passing like the cover
of a book as I go by.
They don't seem to end--
backyards appear to join,
fences come together
like fingers from an old story
and further down trees fuse
forming postcards of a summer

They stitch two rows
of houses to each block,
the powder sand of tire tracks
weaving past gray, wooden
carriage shacks locked with rust.

There's a silence on these trails
with no names and too many names.
The asphalt of Sixth or New York
will never know what is just windows
away or listen to back porches speak
their lost language. Who knows
who thought of the alleys of Saint Cloud--
the small, grassy curves they make,
how they still turn the corners
of each day with a widow's eye.

The Man In The Orange Cap

He didn't know
I knew about his loss--
that he brought her here
for breakfast each week,
that she died one Halloween.
And here it is,
the season again.
The servers know
to leave him alone
when his last coffee comes,
not to touch the plate
with the crust of light toast
in the shape of a heart.

I want to walk past
and place a knife over
his art--not to let him
know I understand
because I don't.

I can't help but want
to know the name he writes
in the egg yolk with a toothpick,
why he stays until it hardens
like a freshly poured sidewalk.
And I think the ghost he sees
walking away is his own,
that the distance he leaves
allows him to celebrate
this way--far enough
from whoever
might look.

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