How much meat moves Into the city each night The decks of its bridges tremble In the liquefaction of sodium light And the moon a chemical orange Semitrailers strain their axles Shivering as they take the long curve Over warehouses and lofts The wilderness of streets below The mesh of it With Joe on the front stoop smoking And Louise on the phone with her mother Out of the haze of industrial meadows They arrive, numberless Hauling tons of dead lamb Bone and flesh and offal Miles to the ports and channels Of the city's shimmering membrane A giant breathing cell Exhaling its waste From the stacks by the river And feeding through the night
From Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems 1975-1990, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Copyright © 2000 by August Kleinzahler. All rights reserved. Used with permission.