The Passed Note Issue 4 June 2017 - Page 30

Stray

Everyone has left and the lot is empty again, as vacant

as last night and the night before that.

I suppose it’s up to me

and the mosquitoes, straining at streetlights, to establish

residency, to settle the asphalt and the alleyways.

In the late hours, fog drifts in and silences

the last stray canine. This city finally sleeps without me.

Close by, the crickets whisper from the switchgrass,

asking their insect questions to the dark

and I listen since I have no place to be.

They ask who I am, what brought me

to this place of concrete, where my feet

will lead when the sun rises. This is their assembly.

I can’t answer anything with certainty

except that there’s an old house on the edge of town

I watch every night as the lights never go out. It’s hard

to swallow the sawdust lodged in my throat, to allow

myself to think I can still go home.