The black car floats down the empty street
turning, at the end, into a non-existent city.
A woman in a blue polka-dot dress
drinks ginger ale outside a café, sweat forming
under her breasts. In the café, on round tables,
paper and pencils move with little assistance to the right words.
The furniture shop spills with sawdust as the carpenter makes free
Around and around the block on Sunday afternoon, everyone is playing checkers.
Satisfaction is on the face of the deepest thinker.
Hookers perform a labor of love with tender
accountants from New Jersey. Drug dealers
lower the temperature of pain from hotel to high rise.
Whoever has been bound and silenced
speaks now without bitterness.
A couple reaches across
the years that divide them, their hands forming a bridge
for tired immigrants and abandoned children.
No one finds it a tribulation to a human.
Houdini, underwater, dreams of this
as he slips one shoulder, then a leg, from chains.
It sustains him as he moves to the surface.
Samn Stockwell lives in Marshfield, VT. She has published poetry in Ploughshares, Seneca Review, and The New Yorker. Her book of poetry, Theater of Animals (Univesity of Illinois, 1995), was a winner in the National Poetry Series.