Dealing With It

Photo: © Amy Dupcak. All rights reserved.

I walk and the shadows slip past me
in familiar shapes, too fast to call out.

Swerve towards the food trucks, but hunger
is not my engine this morning. The call

of birds from lofty city windows,
sills filled with appetites unappeased will

no doubt lead to calamity. If luck prevails
only a few broken bodies. The impact of glass

on an otherwise clear sky. The trash
man ignores them when he claims the

stinking rubber bins. Deadlifts them
as blithely as flowers dying in a lover’s

hands. Don’t we all enjoy a little
waste now and then? What we throw

away is the subject of documentaries
and the shapes our nightmares soak

into the sheets while we sleep, but today
a street shows its scarred wisdom to the rain.

Leftover heat rising from the asphalt,
I have already forgotten where I was going,

but this city will lead me somewhere.
A business reading or a poetry meeting

or the dead end of an alley, where
the walls will remind me to call my mother

gone these long years. One more
shadow I have been too numb to carry.

Sometimes the metaphor is not
the only thing a writer buries in his poem.

Zachary Kluckman is a nationally ranked slam poet with more than 100 poems in print worldwide, including New York Quarterly, New Writing Scotland, Cutthroat and Arts & Letters. His first collection, The Animals in Our Flesh (Red Mountain Press, 2012) won the Red Mountain Press National Poetry Prize. His new collection, Rearview Funhouse, was published by Eyewear Publishing in 2023.

Appears In

Issue 20

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