[shift work]

I’m not sure how I decided
********to join the living but I know
****************when it began: that winter so long
********persimmons lasted until April
****************& the neighbors hissed until three a.m.

Pigeons flared in my rafters: a susurrus
********of oiled wings. Snow clung
****************stubborn as shower scum.
********On the train we rocked
************************as one, a catamaran pitch
********in green waves, a rocket
********************************toward where the exit would be.

I got better at taking the garbage out
********************************& making less. At the idea
********of getting better. The fridge hummed low
************************with the wings. I kept
********a box of smoke and a fever beneath my bed.
************************Blew on them before sleep,
************************made a wish.

I thought of the jobs I thought I’d do.
********The job I did. Got up,
****************went to work. Aligned my boots so
****************************************careful on the platform.
****************Ate the last persimmon.
********************************Went dark inside.


Nina Puro’s work is forthcoming or recently appeared in Guernica, H_ngm_n, the PEN America Poetry Series, and other places. She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative and the author of The Winter Palace (dancing girl press, 2015). She lives and works in Brooklyn.


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