On Euterpe (muse of Music)

There are too many kids on the corner to count—
I watch their mothers before the block is awake.

Drug deals play out their beat:
the reticent shuffling song of my street.

A thinskin
sunken cheek creature

preludes her
emaciated mate.

Sometimes the container is a Lean Cuisine box.
Sometimes a too transparent bag.

One woman whistles.
The other’s feet meet her,

like a drumroll, hurtling slowly,
in their unintended percussion.

Amidst this melody of stripped soles,
I peer over a rim of wrought iron

in my canopy of leaves and judgment
studying their musculature and worn bones,

watching white powder
turn women into my morning wonders.

The children, in unknowing orchestration,
fill the silence in this early high song—

the asphalt opera
disjointing two moms—

and I number
eight, no nine

babies waiting, wordless,
to be brought inside.

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