Arid winter air
Alights my tongue
Like sparrows on the oak branch outside my childhood window.
They sing songs of quickly snuffed sunlight
And quiet mornings with cheap coffee from a can.
I descend the stairwell with a smashed cigarette hanging from my lips
And take a step onto the earthshattered sidewalk.
The sounds of distant cars accompany me
As battered leaves and broken beer bottles
Fragment further below my feet.
I breathe in the birdsong
And exhale smoke through my nose
As I pass the place I bought a woman our first drink,
Then our last.
The shadowed rafters hang over upturned chairs; there’s nothing left here.
Fingers, trembling from cold
Or from hurt
Toss the tarred filter into the overfull dumpster outside my door,
Graffitied with names I recognize
And some I don’t.
The last two hours of sleep with her
Leave me wanting for just a few more.
Footfalls drag me back to bed,