Allison Smythe

How the woman at the window sees

before looking—her city of hours haloed in risen fumes,

its pitch and flurry, its bleats and honks,

rumbling over the concrete plains,

those corridors of the constant.

Chase or escape,

the pace so unrelenting she suspects the scene

is a digital loop

though someone’s forgotten how to render green

and the people wear the faces they wore yesterday,

as she has worn these streets for years.

How many hamburgers sold til we grow our own Eden?

And how many has she eaten already

trying to fill all their mouths?

Still she wonders what waits in line

at those finger-smeared turnstiles of the coming,

in the wake of another period of mourning,

knowing the future arrives in an unmarked package

after a surprise knock on the door.

So she leaves the house unlocked,

stands alone in her shadow as the sky

begins to bruise her name, her book of addresses

written, rewritten, re-rewritten, scratched out:

deleted until she has no more pockets to unfill.

Allison Smythe lives in Houston, Texas. Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Snake Nation Review, Tributary, Soundings and other publications.

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