West Eugene Dawn, Summer Solstice

 

The first sound is the gong

Of a dumpster, kicked possibly

By one of the homeless twins

Who live at The Mission, followed

By the rattle of glass and aluminum—

Signs of early success—against the cages

Of their grocery carts filled with cans, bottles,

Anything stamped with 5¢ deposit

Next to our state’s abbreviation.

Now the coughing ignition

Of a tow-truck’s diesel, the low

Burbling idle for another

Ten minutes, while the driver

Goes inside for another cup of coffee.

 

We lie holding each other, listening

Until your iPhone screams, and I remind

You again that you should change

The tone to something more musical.

 

You rise, make chai, and sit

At your vanity, carefully applying

Moisturizer and talking sweetly

Before putting on scrubs

To go wash, ambulate, feed, empty

Urine bags for the elderly,

The recovering.

 

Out the door, we hear in the silences

Between the few passing cars beginning

To travel our street, birds—

Robin and chickadee and jackdaw—

Flying or sitting somewhere nearby

Under the morning gray.

And even though there is no sun

It feels good to stand

In the light, tired and bleary-eyed,

On this longest of days.

 

James Alan Gill has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in several journals including Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Midwestern Gothic, The Common, and Atticus Review, and has work forthcoming in the anthology Being: What Makes A Man. 

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Chris Phan.

West Eugene Dawn, Summer Solstice

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