I gaze at your mouth, the way humming halogens
pool at the space above lips that sit like a shelf
holding up your Slovak/Abruzzi face.
I tell you, this alley is our blanket, its shadows
a sheath inside which we hold hands
and ambitions aloft, as if flashing both
would leave the passing sidewalk blind.
Above, a flat roof on Main Street
gingerly juggles fluorescence and dark.
Lurid signs buzz against faces with askew eyebrows.
Crooked smiles contort with optimism.
They look upon trailing exhausts
spitting sparks against the asphalt.
Everyone I know is going on to great things.
--After James Wright’s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota”