In the mid-city, under an oiled sky, I lay in a garden of such dusky green It seemed the dregs of the imagination. Hedged round by elegant spears of iron fence My face became a moon to absent suns. A low heat beat upon my reading face; There rose no roses in that gritty place But blue-gray lilacs hung their tassels out. Hard zinnias and ugly marigolds And one sweet statue of a child stood by.
A gutter of poetry flowed outside the yard, Making me think I was a bird of prose; For overhead, bagged in a golden cloud, There hung the fatted souls of animals, Wile at my eyes bright dots of butterflies Turned off and on like distant neon signs.
Assuming that this garden still exists, One ancient lady patrols the zinnias (She looks like George Washington crossing the Delaware), The janitor wanders to the iron rail, The traffic mounts bombastically out there, And across the street in a pitch-black bar With midnight mirrors, the professional Takes her first whiskey of the afternoon--