Starr Street

Eric Helms

This winter. The dark smudge increased
its dent beneath the radiator’s heat
and whistle. Our mounted stag

moaned above the steam, and like our conifer,
his points seemed to sag. From the window,
not one morning where the snow globe outside

was not an eyesore. Four a.m.,
the shovel scrapes, clearing a frail path
for the blotted epilogues and loaded soliloquies

that parade at this hour from the dive bars
and taverns closing their doors. “Clouds of
zip-locked meat, azure!” someone discovers.

The lamps of the coffee house begin their drone

and, by degrees, the day begins to detect itself—
a hairline crack spreads yolk across
the sky’s cold shell.