Passing Through Ridgewood

The night air touches my cheek
With affection
Whispering sweetly, sincere
Calming an uneasy head haunted lately by bad dreams
The street is quiet and I’m alone
Feet echoing on the pavement like a single heartbeat
The hum of window ac units
And distant mariachi music
Remind me of families huddled together now on worn couches
As I pass
Pink cheeks peacefully pressed against mother’s chest
Lives mushrooming from the quiet that once was the emptiness of a lonely room
Love blasts from the stoop
A tornado that sweeps me off my feet and sets me down again, stunned
I don’t have anyone to call my own
But the scent of trees in bloom tonight
Brings me to tears
The volume of my soul is turned up
My spine is a totem pole and my legs swing in revolutions
That time I stitched my own tattered tongue and reassembled my fractured ribs did not scar me
My freedom is tangible
I carry it in my pocket and it courses through my headphones
I whistle the tune
While my love waits its turn
My dreams are bright and painful
These days
They light the street in front of me
And I don’t have anyone
But I have this.

Cold Air Companion

The cold air is his companion now
Brightly–colored leaves kiss his neck
The sharp scent of dying matter
Hugs him close at night
And he sighs in its embrace.

I ricochet down sunny sidewalks.

Mothers and children and mothers and children
Off to run errands or clean the house
Smiles that shatter my calm
With rebellious joy.

He closes his eyes and soaks in the warmth.

I do the same
Imagining him here as I cross the street.

Missing is the wrong word, we struggle to define this
This ache, this happy, throbbing wound
This hope
Without which
We would dry up and float away.

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