Home Bitter Poems Stray

Stray

for Era Kever

I stepped out stray
on those
cracked streets
South Harlem
in the summer night
Black looks
in shadow
Death gliding
on the air

I didn’t see you there

 They were fighting
on one twenty
up against the wall
They were hanging
out the windows
bristling in the hall
She said
It’s not worth you all
Not worth it

 Didn’t hear you there

 The heat
was a bruise
A mattress
stained with dreams
Dragged like
a dog
on the sidewalk

 I didn’t feel you there

 Not the weight
of your head
or the flat of your hand
which would have been

As cool as thought

GEORGE MURPHY