Dawn. Life here is not
how you have heard, although
I just walked through the waft
of garbage from an exploded bag
of formless filth a truck let fall
and someone hit.
Hump-winged with craning,
blackened neck, a chimney sits
atop a brownstone house
like the lost eagle standard
of a Roman legion slaughtered
in shaded, Teutonic woods.
Other protrusions are watchful,
vent-pipes long-closed, satellite dishes,
piles of brick, their dull flashing
stringy with black-tar vines like blood.
Today I’d welcome even
a discouraging word.
The sound of a child unwrapping candy,
is three clever birds, peeling foil
from a fallen taco. They pause
as I near, but do not leave,
pink blossoms of pork revealed
between cilantro leaves’ shading green.
A church, in gas-station letters, says
SUN WORSHIP 11AM. There is no
more fitting god, saluted daily from birth
to Icarusian fall, when live swifts sweep
insects from the rays, and man’s crude,
inanimate flocks at last go dark.
Benjamin Harnett is a historian, fiction writer, poet, and digital engineer. His works have appeared recently in Pithead Chapel, Brooklyn Quarterly, Moon City Review, and Tahoma Literary Review. His story “Delivery” was chosen as Longform’s “Story of the Week.” He holds an MA in Classics from Columbia University and in 2005 co-founded the fashion brand Hayden-Harnett. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife Toni and their pets. He can be found most days on Twitter.com: @benharnett. He works for The New York Times.