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Sunday, February 14, 2010


by David Chorlton

At a desk between Spanish literature
and music scores in the reading room
a man has unpacked his belongings
on a bright winter day
when the sun shines through the wide windows
to illuminate the orange
he takes from one of a dozen
plastic sacks lying, some empty some full,
around his feet, and places it next to
a candy bar in a bright metallic wrapper
while he turns the pages in a stack
of fashion magazines each with a glamorous smile
on its cover, and he warms his hands
on the photographs inside them.
He has some coins and a view across downtown.
A can of food best served warm
but better cold than nothing. He has
a pair of gloves with holes
to let his fingers through to count
five grapefruit in a canvas bag.
He has a crumpled dollar bill, a handkerchief,
a yellow box of salted crackers
beside a Styrofoam cup imprinted with the logo
of the fast food chain for which it stands,
one grapefruit under the table,
indivisible, in a library
with blank cards and pencils
for all.

David Chorlton lives with his wife, four cats, a dog, and some birds in central Phoenix, where he also organises a monthly poetry series at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater. After thirty-one years in the USA he continues to appreciate being an outsider, which sharpens vision and makes otherwise mundane observations meaningful. His new chapbook, From the Age of Miracles, appeared in 2009 from Slipstream Press as the winner of its latest competition.