Street empty as a healing heart,
I lean the patio wall,
Swisher Sweet packed with pot,
friends equally afraid.
Wednesday brings the chill,
hawks fleeing ahead.
They say it’s a west wind—
it carries the desert, it trails a fire.
A car scrapes a manhole cover,
the squall of a New Depression song
rackets from the apartment.
I sit beside you on the couch
urging you to say
what’s wrong, what’s wrong.
Tell me a dream, you demand.
I can’t. I refuse them.
They’re not meant
for sunlight or the litmus page.
you leave for your car.
That cell phone photo joins a gallery:
you with a beer, you with a bourbon,
you with a Bonnie Parker tilt to your smoke.
Anarchist amid barred gates, builder’s stakes,
the furtive criminal on the corner
heats his alley dinner fire
with mattress flyers, garden scraps.
Seeing me, he waves a clenched fist.
I slam mine into the wall.
R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and critic. His work has appeared in Trajectory, Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Comstock Review, The Alembic, Silk Road and Argestes. Internationally, Castleberry’s work has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. Mr. Castleberry’s work has been featured in the anthologies, Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn.