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Sunset District

Meet me in the Sunset District, out by the shoreline,
a place named for the time of day that dies. Meet me here

where the gulls are streaked with gasoline, where hubcaps
wash ashore like giant mournful sequins. These days,

from this strip of beach, I watch for hours pairs of lovers
collecting stones, then walking hand-in-hand

into the ocean. Have you heard? They say the city
is dying. Newspapers, windblown, scatter headlines,

This Is It, they say, What’s Done
is Done
, and out here by the sea, a man in rags

tries to speak to God on a rotary phone. But meet me
by the dismantling skyscraper that once kept all keys to the city,

that housed this borough’s evening sun. From here
we might chance to see vanishing points on the horizon

where troops and artillery wince, where they glitter like stolen jewelry.
Someday we’ll move, maybe, to the country

of some distant country, but meanwhile I’ll bide my time
watching tides, fold yesterday’s paper into airplanes, whole fleets,

and name each one Enola. Come evening, streetlamps
flicker out, streetcars rear to a halt, and the man in rags still listens

for a dial tone. Hello? he says, Hello?
So take your leave and meet me, if you can, the day after

the Day of Oblivion, where the fog and lovers will continue,
with the crude tide, to roll in. Meet me where a body in rags, clutching a phone,

will be buried, by then, in black sand. We’ll watch spilt oil
rainbow the bay and glint aluminum. We’ll breathe

the new air incensed with aftermath and uranium.
Posted 08/19/09
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