August Kleinzahler


East of the Library, Across from the Odd Fellows Building

That bummy smell you meet
off the escalator at Civic Center, right before
you turn onto McAllister,
seems to dwell there, disembodied,
on a shelf above the sidewalk.

The mad old lady with lizard skin
bent double
over her shopping cart
and trailing a cloud of pigeons
is nowhere in sight.

Green Sees Things in Waves

Green first thing each day sees waves —
the chair, armoire, overhead fixtures, you name it,
waves — which, you might say, things really are,
but Green just lies there awhile breathing
long slow breaths, in and out, through his mouth
like he was maybe seasick, until in an hour or so
the waves simmer down and then the trails and colors
off of things, that all quiets down as well and Green
starts to think of washing up, breakfast even
with everything still moving around, colors, trails,