The Thinker

Jennifer Soong

Two nights in a row
I have emerged from the black greenery, myself.
There on the city’s corner
a West End hydrant
pours crushed water from its belly.

Releasing, as if it were a slow fire
the water gives, admits to the age
of heroic facades slid onto ruffled awnings
to embrace anonymous pipes.

Like the second-to-last hour
the burning spring is almost over
or just begun.
The sound of power, so steady,
is almost silent. At the end of the block
one street becomes another and another.

I hear it now as one hears oneself.
For a minute, I think I know
what stays and is gone, what exists
on those rusted blades of grass,
guarding this last, ubiquitous earth.