A Poem in the Before Choice Disturbs collection

The Gas Lamps

25 years ago they replaced

the baked clay steps
at the Academy of Music with poured concrete.

Those are the steps I sit on,

watching cars nod and jig
over potholes on Broad Street.

Night wraps around the building.

The gas lamps remain lit night and day,
they circle the structure at half-height, a silver braid -- a gold belt.

The traffic lightens, evening secures its foothold,

handrail shadows bounce on my leg,
the lamps work their way to a conscious state.

Inside suits and tuxes,

shiny gowns and rich full coats
crush the crushed velvet chairs with their old leathered bodies.

I sit out on the steps, stepped over,

watching the ballerina flames
and listening to the concerto hiss pop fizz of the lamps.

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