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a poem by James H Duncan

dead fish wallets

songbirds dare beyond these bars
each hour steel, each breath cement
and sliding to the floor is the worst
and only thing left to do

somewhere cars start without fumes
and a bird is not crushed
and flies are not born in heaps
dogs walk on two legs
razors in the wrong hands go blunt
and all the wrapping comes undone
in great Christmas piles

but here

the light dims and the shadows
disappear into darkness
and even the bars are gone
the lame charlatan mattress
the steel toilet
the fear and hounding
and if the rats would go away
one could finally be alone

but the lights turn on every morning
and the eyes blink hard
seeing rows and rows, we all sit in rows
typing, talking, waiting
arguing, begging, scheduling
writing, cleaning, compromising
with play money stuffed into
dead fish wallets

and with no one looking
the songbirds climb higher
out there

© by James H Duncan
Gutter Eloquence Magazine ~ Issue #22 ~ July 2012