Stuttering a language not my own on streets

named after American presidents, I ask passing face

after passing face, where, where … Such tight
mouths and hunched figures pestered by losses

petty or grievous, disappear into alleys.
A destination does not lead home, not to arrival,

or a forgiving nod to the past. These epiphanies
elude as fading roads on worn maps. Here,

the days pass by anonymous lives, glide
into quiet afternoons. I find the cool arms

of streetcars, the haven of warm cafes.
A flushed sky settles over the city, a monument

built of dusk where pigeons fly around church
spires and matchbooks blur in wet gutters.

Karen Carissimo‘s first book of poems, Dream City, is forthcoming from Iris Press. Her poems appear in Many Mountains Moving, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Western Humanities Review, and other journals.

*Photo courtesy of TyMotion.