The city folds in on itself,
pouncing on switchblade sunsets
with eager twitching and nervous hands.
Alleys race under fire escapes;
laundry writhing on backyard wires
like fish in salty buckets.
Each square of sidewalk rolls past dusty shoes
of winos and barflies.
Some squares are baptized
by chalk drawings of children;
others marred with dried blood and gum-blisters.
Somewhere the sounds of a funk bass
are dancing under dim lights and cigarette smoke.
With coat flung over shoulder,
a local girl flirts with stranger under disco ball mistletoe.
Curly black hair is plowed by her hand.
She giggles and probes at biceps and past,
but his smile fails to alarm her.
She hears only the drums
bending the night
into rivers of sound and silence.
5/11/95 Jeremy David Kaufman