4 a.m. Streets under fog. Streetlights gone.
Except a few down the road
and the moon’s halo
easily obscured by a plume of breath
laced with nicotine
and the meagre consolation of the last round
from the last open bar
now closed, and its glow also gone.
From the bay, a foghorn.
A long, low note from watch’s end
as if a moan from Leviathan
cast down into despair by its god.
From a rank doorway, a cry in counterpoint.
A homeless man
swaddled in his nightmares,
the abject of the rich man’s dreams.
Not one lone car carrying young lovers
drunk and eager, warm
between their legs and their hope,
their cold, misfiring hope
that after the revving and keening,
after the splutter home
after the many beers souring the breath
tonight’s love will remain.
There is no God now as lonely as these streets,
this grid empty
like love’s chessboard at game’s end;
or a labyrinth
through which comes a beast loping,
comes loping a big, forlorn dog,
its black coat matte with condensation.
And behind it from the mist emerges a man
on a walk at tangent to the world and time.
The dog loops back to him
to brush at his legs, sniff at his feet.
Then heels like a dutiful companion
at a soft ghost of a chide
as back into the fog they fade
past the last lights down the road,
a man and his black dog.
Rustum Kozain‘s poetry has been published in local and international journals, some in translation in French, Spanish, and Italian.