On a tiresome day—
Hot, rattling wind,
Uber wait for hospital pickup,
I start with nothing but
spam calls, office arguments,
dance of insomnia imagery.
I lift my head for the green light release,
loose crowd walking an empty field.
Learning to keep my silence,
I swallow a steamtable breakfast
of bacon and biscuits, infused tea.

Legions of SUVs and grey-body sedans
stagger parking lots, feeder lanes.
Books that are a bore scatter the house.
With a handful of old dimes
to pass around, I’ve taught myself
the hollow amazement
of metaphor through money.
Like Fitzgerald at his third morning drink,
I surrender to a soft grind:
easy employment, confusion choice
of gratitude debt, no good decisions.

Pulling on driving gloves,
I feel a transfer scorch of
afternoon sun to steering wheel.
Perfection attributes strangle
the feel for mistakes,
formulas for correction.
In tracing heroes to ghosts,
the response indicator is
a private joke between
anecdote and action, healing
the worst version of yourself.
Stored like bankruptcy cash,
conflict diamonds, I tell no one
the secrets I endure.

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..