The immigrant knows

every bird on a wire is a message,
every rusted stain bleeding through
porous wallpaper a letter from
the dead, who can’t believe

the life he’s exchanged for this:
every tree watching over the junkyard,
every coil sprung loose from each busted
vinyl seat therefore a summons from

the netherworld. So he keeps his eyes
cast down as he passes, turns his face
to the shadows. Better that they don’t
see the doubts that flicker there,

the twitch at any thin stroke of scent
wisping over a wall: sea foam, gardenia,
smoke; some gauzy longing he must
refute, tamp down— lest it flare into
an aura visible from miles away.


In response to Via Negativa: Dream journal: the vulture.

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