The American Dream

We wink at the fox
with the bird in his mouth;
"Clever fellow," we say.
But outrage dawns
with the sunrise sight
of a vacancy
in the henhouse.


Commuter Lessons

My first week in the city
I learned to dress, check
the mirror, then undress, don
coat over camisole, lest
in the crosswalk trot
to the Metro stop
I bathe myself in sweat.
High heels and blouse go
in the canvas tote.
Sneakers go on the feet.

Week two was a city-face seminar.
Here I am, direct from New England,
where for an hour each morning
and one every night I watched the road,
peering for deer, defensive,
alert and observing.
Do that here and you'll get stabbed,
if you aren't arrested first.
Keep your eyes to yourself, girl.
Look hard at those sneakers.

Just this morning I learned the secret
of the reflector-jacketed man
who offers newspapers
at the top of the granite M stairs.
He is not a paperman.
He is the prop master,
equipping savvier commuters
with something not-sneakers
to stare at.

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