Jeffrey McDaniel

(1967 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Friends And High Places


It's like escaping a hot, bright room
for the serenity of a city at night, covered in snow.

People eliminated. A carpet of silence
for taxis to whisper across. The world becoming

a pleasant dream of itself. The itch
of want smoldering to life on skin. Memory sends

a chill vanishing between vertebrae.
It's New Year's Eve. Hail the Calendar! As if

clocks will pause for a moment
before reloading their long rifles. Years are tiny

freckles on the face of a century.
Where is the constellation we gazed at each night

Through a bill rolled so tight
the first President lost his breath, as our eyeballs

literally unraveled? I am alone
in the rectangular borough in the observatory,

where even fire trucks can't rescue
the arsonist stretching his calves in my brain.

Submitted: Thursday, July 14, 2005
Edited: Saturday, May 15, 2010

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