The following appeared in Crab Orchard Review’s The West Coast & Beyond issue, Summer/Fall 2014:
— by Diane Kirsten Martin
Don’t you wonder about the panhandler
On Fremont and Market, sharing his day’s
proceeds with his pink-nosed pit? Or
Frank Chu, with his sign of 12 Galaxies?
What about the World-Famous Bushman,
hiding behind the branch he shakes
at passers-by, or the matching — from pumps
to pillbox hats — Marian and Vivian Brown.
Who are they and who are you, starting out
from the glass eyes of your apartment?
Do you wake in a sweat on an October
night with stars, the moon a fat orange
and the temperature pushing 90
and remember a silver filigree ring buried
under the azalea, the mute orphan who lived
with his uncle, your father who gave you
the back of his hand? Do you, like Frank,
dream of aliens? I’ll bet the man on Fremont
dreams about Thunderbird and wakes up
as if he drank a whole bottle of fortified wine.
Nights like this, with windows wide, you can
hear the rush of the freeway, like the sound
of whitewater Ronald Reagan had piped
into his bedroom for insomnia. Nights like this
we lie naked, contiguous in this warm
ocean that flows around our back and breasts
our arms our throats our lips, necks, thighs.
- Diane Kirsten Martin won the Erskine J. Poetry Prize from Smartish Pace and was included in Best New Poets 205.
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