Emily Dawn


A Lullaby


The sun is sinking,
Melting atop many-windowed bricks,
Like tangerine-painted ice shavings
From the corner cart.

The ice cream truck loops around the block,
Like a self-winding music box.

Sirens clamor for a solo,
While birds warble from their choir lofts.
Powerline to powerline,
Rooftop to Rooftop
And an occasional tree.

I smell dinner wafting out the cracks:
Corner pizza, hot oil, corn tortillas, cilantro
And red meat.

Bruised bricks embrace weary welding.
Plaster bleeds black at its creases
Like a sweating chimney sweep.

Westward, Cheery glass rectangles wink
Like geometric jewels glimmering.

And though these fool’s gold treasures
Will shed their shimmer like ice shavings
Spilling onto the sidewalk,
When open-mouthed shadows
Quench their thirst,
I welcome the tangerine veneer
Capping hungry interiors.


“Stop snitching Spanish Harlem.”
Spelled across an adjacent ledge.
Concrete reads like loose-leaf paper, Here.
But I won’t tell.


Soft lavender blankets hush the horizon,
Tucking in tenements like El Barrio children.

One misplaced white brushstroke above
Bookmarks a jet’s feathered silhouette.

Pale green steeples stretch.
Curved pipes shrug their shoulders.
Dusk rubs her eyes and rises,
While tires hum their lullabies
On 116th Street beneath.

It is time for these buildings to brush their teeth.
Descent is beckoning from the yawning stairwell.

But it’s this dirty silver girder,
A ‘once ghetto’s’ tightrope,
Slicing one diagonal
Amongst these squares,
That has become my seat.

Submitted: Monday, August 05, 2013
Edited: Thursday, August 29, 2013
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