From Up Here the River Shines

I am on the corner of XXXXXX and 31st, watching wolves take taxis uptown while waiting for love. Full moon tonight. I am waiting for love.

I am waiting for love to take me to bed, put a pillow under my head and say hot-breathed to my face, You're home. In the meantime there will be plenty of ways to lose days like pennies down the stream. I hang with the wolves, I pound the beers, I sleep in the far side of the park.

That trick you taught me, I still practice it. I take long walks and disappear a t the edge of the interstate where headlights don’t go. I’m not looking for you, but it does cross my mind now and then I might find you there, amongst the rags and cans and moonlit grass, talking to yourself to pass the time until the river finally lets you go…

But tonight the stars spell D-A-N-G-E-R so I walk fast, stay close to the ground, avoid eye contact, keep alert, keep sober, keep away from strangers and don’t feed the wolves. They are crazy with moon tonight; when I pass the bar I hear them h owling and salivating, laughing and howling, throwing darts at the women who walk by and holding bones all for themselves. What a pack. Tonight they’d eat me up and not think twice, so I won't stop by. I decide to go for a ride.

Subway lights flash au rora borealis in the dark. I count the light fixtures, check under the seats – am I looking for love? – and go to sleep.

[The dream went like this: Dad and I lie in bed, we are recovering from childhood--]

In the morning the lights are a dull throb beh ind my eyes. Further back, a small boy wanders the corridors of a hotel. When he comes to a door, he peeks in, but each time it’s the same: orderly, neat, empty. He hears the river in the distance. He hears the elevator chime in the ha ll. Nervous, he palms his hair, puts the bouquet just right, and slowly steps toward the parting doors.


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