Waking Up in the City
A pillow like any other, a ceiling
white as an undershirt. Three walls,
concrete and steel, limp paint.
The fourth wall is orange-pink sky
barely restrained by a giggle of glass,
a plane sidling past
like a duck on a still pond.
But now one neighbor grinds
coffee beans, another's baby cries,
another sings in the shower,
off-key but less discordant than the sirens
howling in traffic thick as ants
that mass on last night's cold pizza.
There will be time for baths and clothes, time
for cereal and a quick smoke
before the long wait for an elevator to rise
slow as a tired single mom
up, up to the thirty-fourth floor
then down to the first with a dozen stops
for a dozen others, equally tired.
Time for sidewalks that smell
like dirty diapers and gas except
just outside the cafeteria,
door open, sweet pastries and espresso
like a knife in the gut, gun in the mouth,
sign in the window that says "Cervezas $2"
so the stools are full of old men
swigging Bud or Miller, happy hour
from eight to ten in the morning.
But now, now is the time; forehead
leans against floor to ceiling window,
long drop to a hard stop or
maybe, with the sun searing the sky blue,
if the grackles can reach this height,
if even turkey vultures, grimy death-
eaters in black mourning garb dance
a slow galliard in clear air, maybe a person
as human as anyone else
can spread sleep-heavy arms and fly.
Guest post today by the annoyingly talented Valerie Valdes, for more of her amazing writing check out her blog: As the Moon Climbs