by Michael Boettcher, Detroit

Downtown Detroit breathes a hollow sigh
at the end of another summer weekday
as the last used businessmen
quiver off to their cars.

I've waited here a few eternities
as nighttime climbs up chilly skyscrapers
and pigeons peck at
closed-up street-corner fruit stands.

You can feel the november restlessness
in these july hearts that wait with me.
See, we'd all been breast-fed
promises of security.

But my dreams go as dark as the sky,
alone as the bums that blow by me, waiting.
Whores start to slink from
the woodwork and out onto Woodward.

You don't get nowhere carless in this town.
Sidewalks end where you don't want to be.
But the bus arrives saying, you know
we won't be here forever.

We snake at snail's pace through warehouse district,
graffiti and emptiness inside and out
and a kid in the back seat is crying
We're moving so slowly!

We pass the diner of Coffee and Dead Dreams,
past that hotel where the nowhere men go
with them women you rent to kill time
and deaden a pain.

I get to my stop by the vacant GM plant,
an empty neighborhood of buried pasts
and the bus driver tells me
Good night. We won't be here forever.

Return to the Summer Fiction index.

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