St. Elsewhere

at half past, work is over; time
to watch the changing guards
as they dance their canine cares
away, or hide the smoky veil of truth
from pairs of pale men, pockets
lined, to brown bags hiding
closing time’s desires. There’s a fight
on either side–one with claws, and

one with knives. Across the street
They hide beneath the shade and
gamble lives, but no one on the
other side will stop to bat an eye.

While some may wear a leash of chains,
the other side is held as fast by bars
and by the rain and by the promise of
a supper that He prays is not His last:

Patron Saint of Somewhere Else, please
bring Us greener pastures and better days,
otherwise entitled to those good enough
to pay. So We laugh it off like child’s play,
endearing simple-minded pleasures–stay out
of the way, of the teeth They bare and call a game

beneath the watchful Eye of telephone lines.
There is a Man who stares across the street
in silence, and in envy, of another man’s best friend:

They will not let You play, and They will not let You in.

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