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Thursday, November 24, 2011


by Lee Patton

 46th November

 This sky seems to write no promises--
 its gray sheet stretches taut, papering
 over the sun. Turkey gravy and pie juice
 bleed on my clients' blotted-ink addresses,
 but I know ‘em by heart.  The streets deliver me
 again, with meals for the homebound.

 Opposite Freedom Park's drained fountain
 an old lady totters to her next meal in robe
 and sneakers.  Every other citizen braving this
 chill seems to be on crutches or skinny wheels:
 "Could you hold that door for me, Sonny?"

 In her room near the emergency exits,
 Judith cries at the offered goods--enough
 for the long weekend, with pie and cake
 besides--and I beg off her gratitude,
 I who only brought and did not buy,
 did not package, did not bake.

 Through his door-chain's widening wedge,
 Mr. Gomez forgets his reserve and shinnies up
 the IV of his dormant self-delight, then frees
 the door and offers his arms to me.

 At the icy crack of noon, feeble shafts
 of sunlight tender a greeting to the street,
 throwing the chimneys' steam into blunt relief
 against faint blue haze.

 Life, I want to tell Judith, has kissed me
 on my sweet ass for so many years
 that I've forgotten the need for wishes on bones
 and lost track of any promises, kept or broken,
 scrawled in disappearing ink
 across November skies.

Lee Patton, a Denverite, writes fiction, poetry, drama and commentary.   Quarterlies that have published his work include Best New Writing 2012, The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. His second novel, Love and Genetic Weaponry:  The Beginner’s Guide, was launched from Alyson Books in 2009.