The Night Watchman

First published in Heron Quarterly 2:4, October 1998, page 46.

from the morgue window,

the night watchman stares

at the all-night diner


a couple appears

and turns down the sidewalk

laughing, arm in arm


the neon lights

—except for the missing R—

blink in the rainy street


a sheet of newspaper

scrapes along the sidewalk

till it folds into a puddle


in the distance

a car horn sounds

. . . a pencil clatters to the floor