City Commute

this betweenness
made surely possible in a city
eekes its host from
to crumb of lost aliveness

clear the way for ailment
after ailment on bottom
of the heap of chosen alienation

neither dead nor alive,
looking out the window of his car,
he cannot find his place
amongst the birds
who confuse him with singing
or the trees that match wits
with the clowning rainclouds
along the riverbank of his dazed driving

he thinks it vaguely beautiful
though he has not yet felt shame
for his humanity, and “it”–this nature–
is not his to care for;
guardianship is no worry, especially
“over there” across the river
where he’s never been,
where all the leaves and feathers
are burning

and like the stained fence
of his aimless abode,
which he cannot reach quick enough
through stop and go,
his mind makes knots where eyes
could have branched open


(C) J. Celan Smith