Give me your filthy brick, your spent
buildings crouched like bodies that turn
their backs as I watch from the narrow bridge.
I’d throw change at the toll’s gaping mouth
if it meant I might finally gain access.
You blacken my lungs, set me gasping
with your ozone and particulates.
You are inside me as much as I am inside you,
the way a blood-fattened horse-fly enters
a structure and won’t leave until it’s spat
on every goddamn wall. Each of us is both
fly and structure — first, the mutual entry
of our invasions, then the cleared space,
afterward, devoid of wings, as sad as the sound
of the last night train moving off, that pathetic
and fading whistle. Longer than I’ll admit,
I’ve watched you court others by the thousands
with no regard for me — each metal facade
that grows from your dirt a promise ring
any vagrant can slip on her swollen finger.
How easily you glint at me in the sinking
light. Cavalier, you cast off sun just like
the fawning river below, which can’t stop
licking your cracked and dirtied feet.

About the author

Dana Guthrie Martin was born and raised in Oklahoma and now divides her time between Missouri and Washington State. Her chapbooks include In the…

Read the full bio

Issue 17 · March 2013

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