AT FOUR O’CLOCK, OR FIVE
At four o’clock, or five,
the neons leave the city to the dawn.
It comes, silent and spare,
swept in by cleaners’ brooms. Taxis
are once more busy; the streets stretch
and lengthen every sound from the warming motors.
White light spreads over the white cement;
beneath the bridges huddled sleepers stir,
turn over, and sleep again.
Growing slowly heavy and opaque the white light
spreads over the commonplace of dogs
Carbined watchmen nodding at warehouse doors,
blind capiz windows.
Footsteps drag on the wooden stairs.
His sanded lids, thick tongue seek
Comfort in a pillow. Soon the reeking breath
has filled the room, and once more darkens it
against the dawn.
- Ma. Lorena Barros