Tucson Waking

Seven o’clock sun on the mountains;
park shadows over the man
asleep beside a shopping cart;
colors ring in the flower box
outside the entrance to a budget motel
whose bell doesn’t work at the door.
There’s a hostage situation going on
in Mali, and tensions run high
between the manager and Marsha
in their room behind the check-in
check-out desk, whose door
is open. Anyone can see
the unmade bed and hear him
tell her he doesn’t fucking care
about her fucking job and she’d better
get her fucking act together.
It’s a good idea to leave
and enter for a second time, to give
him chance to say Good morning sir
in his working voice, before partaking
of the coffee and some cereal
in a Styrofoam bowl
while a freight train passes nearby
with the sound of the wild
through which it has passed
wailing from its horn. Marsha
doesn’t hear it. Her TV is turned loud
as the manager asks Is there anything else, sir?
and in the time it takes to blink
changes his tone
letting her know It’s time
you fixed that fucking bell.

David Chorlton is a European who became a longtime resident of Phoenix and has developed an interest in the wildlife of the West. He has a recent book with watercolors and poems featuring the local birds, The Flying Desert. Read other articles by David.