ONE NIGHT ONLY
Kendall Poe

The homeless man whose
          socked and sweaty footprints
                 fade into the next train car—
                 how I know he's existed from underneath
          the spell of headphones.

Big top tent stretched
          over Brooklyn and her many acts,
                 lapis sky until the eastern edge flaps
                 up and a fuchsia lip smolders underneath.

I recall many people who made a show of themselves,
                 that's New York, if I had to describe it,
                 performers of the seasons, slapping their lived and
          weathered thoughts on subway platforms, spilling it all like milk on asphalt.

Every day's an ode to something else, a disappearance
          before anyone can look up from their phone or floor.
                 White, long-stemmed roses sing from the steps
                 where someone dropped them.

If only rats pranced on hind legs,
                 then we'd never leave.
          The construction workers who travel to
                 Manhattan with the dust of new buildings on their work boots,
                 not telling their children it's really the dust of things they've torn apart.
          My own act teeters on completion. Spectator costume drops:

Wonderful,
wonderful,
gone.




Kendall Poe is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Last year she was awarded the honor of World's Best Short-Short Story from Southeast Review. If she's not writing, she likes to bike around Central Park.





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