Today's poem is by Andrea Heny

At the Intersection

At seven, the all-night Greyhound reaches the city
where rush-hour traffic slows it, wakes you: here comes
the sole pedestrian through this lazily whitening
light that fills the deep alleys like morning milk.

Here she marches, through a rabble of hard-winged starlings
sporting from window-lip to overhang—tough little beetle-birds,
their backs bright as carapaces—the light spit-shines
their blue-black feathers; they glint like the shoes of tycoons.

She's striding through Chinatown, keeping pace with us: a filthy
and dramatically underfed Philadelphia Goth.
The forked tail of her trenchcoat, baroque as livery,
flares out and flaps as urban crosswinds buffet her.

Attended by that flock, she strikes you as a crippled starling.
In this light, her blacks don't spring to snarling life
as they must at night, against neon. Instead, she fades
to a bundle of unwashed laundry. She must resent

this oatmeal dawn, how it dims her, as if she were a match
held against the sky: how it sets her guttering.
Or maybe not. See that tilt to her rough chin?
Would it surprise you if she broke out laughing?

Copyright © 2004 Andrea Heny All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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