To Live Alone in the City

I do not wish to live alone in the city

where the strip-tease of lights and alarms
is contrasted by a backdrop of uneasiness,

where the reassuring hum of the 9 A.M. train
mingles with the scent of last night’s murder.

I do not wish to live alone in the city;
the city does not need me. It carries on

without me, like a sputtering torch against
a big, black sky; the ground choking on its own night air.

I would only spread my self thin across its self-important avenues,
shout above its acid-laced rooftops

that I am still scared of giant buildings and blood on the streets.
Should I fear for a life alone in the city? Maybe not.

…or maybe I should wish to live with the city,
become a red poem splattered against its white brick walls.

— A. P.

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