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(in honor of Charles Bukowski’s birthday, August 16th – a few days late)

The Stop

He has been waiting for
this hour of
3 AM for years,

She mourns on the bench,
black sweats, grave
as a dozen jurors.
The bus not due
for another three deliberations.

Suitcase packed,  pinching
a blouse,  blue and gray,
a hint of a white laced
something, crimson stained.
Her tears,  glass,  broken
from an edifice of belief.

They say a prison rehabilitates.
It makes one a better person,  more civil.
They say.

Grief is a pair
of ash-tinted sunglasses.
Light and color
vanish through them.
Even life and shadow
lurk in the burning gray.

She did not see his
slip from the alley,
tripping over silhouettes,
his sliding behind the wheel’s noose,
gripping tight,
knuckles white,

Patience tears pages
from a worn out copy
of Milton.
The muted muse,
whispering lines,
the wind
turning pages.

The law can not stop this.
They never could,
Noone will answer her cries
as her weeping falls
to the dry sidewalk.

The time draws near,
the hurt ticking away.
He could feel pain,
once, like that.
Violence sparking fury
with each sunrise.
Perhaps, he can feel
again after,
after tonight.

His palms are sweaty,
stinging with salt
as his nails are driven
into them.

Shit!  The bus!
It blocks the view
to the bench,
destination Memorial Avenue.
Then it pulls away,
leaving an

emptiness, but
not quite,
Something he had not felt
for a long while.
His muscles tense,
his body shakes,

a peaceful whiteness.