. . . One Step Back

I stroll down wrinkled, broken sidewalks
past artless graffiti and abandoned
styrofoam, gum wrappers, soda cans, cigarette butts –
city flotsam drifting along on the
dry, dusty grass at my feet.
Falling into the crush of people,
I wonder if I’d recognize you, now:
Tiny beads of burnt whiskey
filling up the space around the dark circle
door to your soul
or would you walk by
inhabiting a skin I never knew,
fully yourself at last
carrying a rhythm in your gait
that you used to keep in an instrument case,
a black suede messenger bag, a script book,
a leather holster at your hips, on a key ring,
or computer disk.
I walk on,
the din of downtown crowds cushion
my stride, hold me upright
as our eyes meet and glance back
toward midday streets,
and ten thousand things
that must get done.



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