The Streets by Sy Roth
Twilight departed unwillingly,
And he fell to his spot in preparation for the shadows.
The late night draped him,
With his few possessions bellied up to his side,
Darkness a shroud.
The street gobbled him up.
Cold seeped into him,
Its frigid caress that blankets could not warm.
His grandmother shared an old wive’s tale
That sitting on cold floors caused hemorrhoids.
He had laughed then, a warm laugh to himself,
As he wished the night air to blossom into a warm tropical sun,
And he smelled her warming chicken soup bubbling over
On her gas stove with its little, licking bits of flame.
The kitchen smells came drifting back at him
In his Ratso Rizzo dreams gliding in
As the unsympathetic air around him
Bit at him,
And his toes prickled with their sharp teeth.
He made wishes come true deep in his frozen, huddled brain.
A passerby gifted him his Delmonico dinner–
Cold, chilled steak and deep-fried potatoes gone hard,
While another stared blankly and had go-get-a-job words Readied to leave his lips,
And the lovers, who smelled of sex, walked by and made him Disappear.
His city loved him no more.
Xanax had hosted only weary dreams
While he flushed in lush pools of frigid sweat under his layers
And his smells erupted from his body
In an icy cascade of warning to the others.
He was caught in his desolate crusade of facelessness–
Orphan of the street–
Into the long, unending nights
Where his motionless image is captured
In the lens of one who wondered.
©2019 Sy Roth
Original photography Robert Sundheimer with his permission
Sy Roth is a retired school administrator who has finally found the sounds of silence and the time to think whole thoughts. This has led him to find words and the ability to shape them. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Mad Swirl, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry and The Eloquent Atheist.