Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), November 2004. Published in my books If I Could Be the Stone and Wings of the Gray Moon.
Against the Drone
Outside the laundromat
the hair blows over my eye,
thinner than the air’s rivers.
Inside, the drunk in the brittle black wardrobe
who looks like he ought to go into the washer whole
finishes a giant sack of junk food
then starts asking people for money.
Me he calls brother-man
or that’s my guess,
my detective work on the warped syllables.
“My team came in!”
yells the beard in the cushioned vest
as quarters jackpot out of the change machine.
But it wasn’t only a gag: “Denver!
Denver’s kickin’ their ass!” he announces to the room.
The drunk’s pard, shiner covering a stab scab,
comes up and highfives the beard.
They tell each other “Denver!” a couple times.
I wouldn’t be here
except the laundry room at my buildings caught fire
last month. The sign on the door says TEMPORARY CLOSED.
It was the second fire in one week.
The first took out my back fence
and now our yard’s twice as big.
I stood across the street squeezing the popcorning cat in my arms,
wearing dumb indoor clothes.
The firemen weren’t in much of a rush either time.
All in a day’s work
when the flames take more of the world,