Trajectories #5

The moon turns from head
to tails. It’s all chance
which way the light comes down
and whose way through the night
is easy, whose
is hard. Sleep is a swift run
down the wash to drink
the stars’ reflections from a still
pond’s surface, where depression
waits for a chance
to leap out from the reeds, and gotcha,
it won’t let go. It’s all
walking in shackles from here on,
chains and misery,
the dark, dark, dark
so thick it takes a shower
to wash it off. But the coyotes are quick
and don’t care
about all
this human sadness; no, no,
they can sniff out a living
and never pay interest on debt.
Through the scent of jasmine, silver
glow at the tip of every branch
and a breeze tickling the grasses
a rodent seeks shelter
from the owl, and rights
are read aloud in a downtown cell
where whatever you say will be
taken down and may
be used against you when the pack
that howls at midnight
become spiritual advisors
to the dawn.

David Chorlton, a longtime resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who has a European past rooted in industrial Manchester, England, and cultural Vienna in Austria. The latest chapter of his writing life is Speech Scroll, a long poem due from Cholla Needles Press in Joshua Tree, California. Read other articles by David.