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

Related Posts

Messy desk in an office

May 2024 Poetry Feature: Pissed-Off Ars Poetica Sonnet Crown

REBECCA FOUST
Fuck you, if I want to put a bomb in my poem / I’ll put a bomb there, & in the first line. / Granted, I might want a nice reverse neutron bomb / that kills only buildings while sparing our genome / but—unglue the whole status-quo thing, / the canon can-or-can’t do? 

Leila Chatti

My Sentimental Afternoon

LEILA CHATTI
Around me, the stubborn trees. Here / I was sad and not sad, I looked up / at a caravan of clouds. Will you ever / speak to me again, beyond / my nightly resurrections? My desire / displaces, is displaced. / The sun unrolls black shadows / which halve me. I stand.

picture of dog laying on the ground, taken by bfishadow in flickr

Call and Response

TREY MOODY
My grandmother likes to tell me dogs / understand everything you say, they just can’t / say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti / while I visit from far away. My grandmother / just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs / understand everything you say. / They just can’t say anything back.