The music of fear bolts

in my window off the edges

of the Williamsburg Bridge that hangs in the night

shouldering the F Train as it crashes past

Delancey Street, the occasional passenger framed

in yellow windows of light.

The trash can covers bang.

It is the man who lives

in the doorway downstairs, waving

the copy of ‘Ivanhoe’ I threw out today.

The music repeats and repeats

Judd sleeps, his shoulder turned

from sirens and firetrucks.

By the digital blue of the clock at 3:33

I scout my body for cancer and sins.

The red lights splash across the bed.

I am a whole band of radio stations

playing simultaneously

as the shrieks from the Pitt Street Chicken Factory

fill the room.

I contain multitudes.

Dear God, bless me, keep me safe, save me.

An ambulance answers from the street.

I go to the kitchen

turn on the light,

stare out the window at the

Williamsburg Bridge refusing to sleep

like people who will not be photographed.

I name a fear for each light on the span:

Dogs and crawling things

no money and cancer

going blind wasting time

the shower scene from Psycho

and cancer and losing papers

and then there are nights

Judd’s out on his bike–

the odds, I fear the odds.

It’s incredible odds we’re against–

a wonder we’re still alive.

Brain tumors and burst appendix

all the cells I destroyed taking drugs.

Recombinant DNA and turning

into my mother.

Men with see through black socks

‘I want to fuck you’ in red lipstick

scrawled across my wall

subway halls

tanks advancing Ronald Reagen and Idaho.

Yes. I fear Idaho.

Ivanhoe, a man bellows from the street

I lift my head.

The trash cans crash.

I imagine him waving the lid at the sun that slowly lights the sky.

The garbage trucks advance

a rooster crows

then Ivanhoe, the F Train

the storefront rolltops rush.

The machinery of morning cranks itself up

steady and certain as the silver in Judd’s hair.

-Donna Masini



2 responses to “Violet

  1. this was just heart-stopping.

  2. “the occasional passenger framed
    in yellow window of light.”
    —her ballistic alliteration cherry-stem tied my tongue in a knot!
    (….and it was good)

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