Now that night has fallen like a broken cart,
he cups his ear against the old red radio,
attempting to tune out the stream
of unintelligible street verbiage
leaking thru the window.
Earlier, he opened all the blinds,
but left the front door closed.
Why do we seal off those places
flooding the greater light?
I imagine in the quiet cottage of his brain
the sepia of this desert city,
wind, dirt, grit that scuffs your skin.
Wish him gentleness in the shade of shadows.
We spoke once. “This heat. Too much,” he tells me.
His birth city is a place where the Pacific baptizes
each morning with softness, the smell of seaweed.
Each day predictable as a calendar.
Today he is a leopard lizard
stalking his oppressor for that which is too much.
I shut blinds. Retreat from voyeurism.
I have no heat or words to offer him.
I am a wheel that does not move the cart.
Copyright © 2022 by Loretta Diane Walker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 08, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.