Gray mascara on the sky
over Monroe Avenue, the artery of this town.
When I pull up to the drive-thru at McDonalds
I switch Tom Waits for 98PXY. A lot of advertisements happen. It’s Huuuuge.
Hey, Anthony, I text, Meet me at the train
Past Scio. Sigh-oh. I whisper. I look like a mark in this coat.
Rochester is pretty yet so
common like a starling (Kodak photo fixer,
years dead, pooled in the river) and I know it’s only fifteen minutes big.
Who doesn’t have a fine from the stoplight cameras,
a Lucky7 scratch-off dollar win (the smudgy pink and green one)?
Who else is kneeling with a temp-work prayer? They’re deep, the prayers.
They lead to a blessed life. Kiss the knuckle
of your hand when you say it; cross the air.
But it’s what they call a service-rich place
to end up down inside. HomelessKelly tells me “Sky for free.”
Also, copper’s at a premium, and social workers
paid to help even at the library downtown. I stress the engine light;
it blinks twice a week, neither of us
frozen into (arsenic) acceptance, the gentle killer kind.
I tap the steering wheel, gently, say Claudia, c’mon now
Baby, shhh. Next to a garage on Richland in the South Wedge,
She hangs her clothes in the birch trees.