Early into Emptiness

Waiting to cross,
I stand back from the corner,
turn away from a truck’s blast.
Wide sun washes the intersection,
splashes across fake brick of Imperial houses.
Parked on side streets, the townhome rows,
Range Rover, Saab, Lexus align fenced lawns.
Fall’s easy first wind tumbles
empty bottles, a worn blue mask.
Grackles hop the handles of carts
stranded on the median.
Shoelace dragging, I walk
to my hybrid ride, navigate
to a fast food breakfast.

The crosstown train makes its second run.
On the underpass sidewalk, tent flaps open,
dog packs roam in assembly.
Routine drags me past
my Nineties steepled apartment,
the poets favored, fine wine café.
Small kindnesses arrayed—
dew refreshed across a live oak courtyard,
store lights still burning overnight,
a runner’s flexing stretch before their miles,
are the narrative saved across torn pages.

R.T. Castleberry, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has work in Vita Brevis, San Pedro River Review, Trajectory, Silk Road, StepAway and Dissident Voice. Internationally, he's had poetry published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Portugal, the Philippines, India and Antarctica. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies: You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, and Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor. Read other articles by R.T..