April A. Denonno

August [late afternoon]

Today the air conditioner sweats as it draws and compresses
humid air. Every breath expels a wheezing gasp of ventilation.
Soon it breaks for good.

We live in an over-heated box—this city. And love it like
we love
disease, exotic symptoms and the special ways we endure.

                                                            On 13th St. below,
the Puerto Rican men pack up their dominoes. Dozens of
black & white tiles clicking as they spill into a used coffee
tin. The card table legs creak and fold.

I lie on a bed by the window and wait for the rain.

                                                                     Water stains
on the ceiling grow into one another, the ancient leak varicose
and brown against plaster. Crumbling bits fall, expose
the lathing’s whitened bones. Eventually, I know the whole thing
will collapse on me while I sleep.

     *                *                *                *                *

And in this old hour between day and dusk, no one in the city
is unaware of tears—. Circulating with the blood, clear,
reflecting what we’ve done. What’s been done to us.

Especially the sky is ready to shed hers.

Wanting to cry over the catastrophe of stars
come careening out last night, lights blinding, wrecked
against the blank headstones of tall buildings. Broken points
scattering bright debris along the city’s grid

and the soft, lit center of their bodies
snuffed out in summer rain swelled gutters.

Copyright 1997, April A. Denonno

April A. Denonno, Seattle, Washington, is a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Washington. She is researching a dissertation on contemporary North American poetry & poetics. Her poetry has been published in Point No Point, Portlandia Review of Books, and Crab Creek Review. E-mail: aprild@u.washington.edu.

Switched-on Gutenberg
Thematic Contents /
Vol. 3, No. 1
Back / Forward