The Worst News

I cross a sky bridge from
one work building to another,
eying spare green lot, pine tree borders.
A temporary Ferris wheel
gleams in the carnival distance.
Mid-month of celebration
balloons rock in a high wind.
Under the roar of a low flight jet,
the kingdom comes awake.

Deskbound for an hour,
I cover the phones, security cameras,
peculiar emptiness of corridors.
Lost to the lens,
festival voices surge in choruses.
In the middle distance,
ear buds and Bluetooth mock
any chance for conversation.
Paperwork questions answered
in the dead air of dutiful waiting,
I select responses certain to please.

Hanging my badge from my belt,
I walk out to check the other stations.
Sunlight stretches street reflections
off bullet-broken window glass.
Ambulances sit the curb,
barricade tape tearing at
bark and limbs of wind-blasted trees.
Hearing text after text hit my phone,
I stumble over a sidewalk seam,
watching for anyone leaving.

R.T. Castleberry, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has work in Steam Ticket, Vita Brevis, As It Ought To Be, Trajectory, Silk Road, StepAway, and Dissident Voice. Internationally, he's had poetry published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Portugal, the Philippines and Antarctica. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, and Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor. He lives and writes in Houston, Texas. Read other articles by R.T..