Afternoon Spent Downtown


Blue like autumn is blue –
Day spills over the precipice
Of wondering. As is the case
On days such as these,
Blue, blue days tousled by
Reeling immediacy, I venture
Through the open window
Of the world as a virus
Roiling the bloodstream.

How steeped I am in the masquerade
Of the times! I forget that above all
I am indeed a face, and I am only
Reminded of this when I catch
A glimpse of myself reflected in
Empty shopfronts lining the street
Like petals – fragile reminders
Of something you held once in
Your hand never to hold again.

Forever trailing the fringes.
I would guess if I were a stranger
That something truly awful
Happened here to render this town
Such a mess. Constant drear seeps
Through the bricks, but thankfully
I have the sanctity of the tobacconist
And nicotine wreaks something awful
The quiet here is impenetrable.
Even in the afternoon.

Smoke ascends the blue air
And wraps lovingly around like
Soft fingers. For once to be the air!
Instead of pondering intolerable
Weariness. And when the air grazes
My face, it is good to be tangible.
It is good to be substantial,
Something even the air can love.
From this perch I see no people
Only cars. And the shopfronts
Are still empty, still reflecting.

-r. miller


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