Fall 2005




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Challenge Prompt

The last City of the East
Steven Shea

a 1988 needle pierces the silence
of heat breathing through ceiling vents
each second holds its breath
for a minute
the Panasonic, found dusty resting on Rice Street,
turns its table-
four seconds crackle past

-frost curls brittle fingers around the corners
of an icy portrait;
one window facing north

George Winston’s fingers dance across keys
from the floor in the corner of the room
lazy, musk incense
thick and mixed with cig smoke
cloaks the air
-ivory twinkles

I gnaw on the end of my pen.

Outside, two stories
down, cars exhale themselves
home or to work or to Sweeny’s neon
cottage a block down Dale

on each corner
sleeps a black pole holding up dim lamps
of orange glow that melt through open blinds

10 pm is sliced into thin strips of black

-when I was ten back in Gaylord
I’d lie on my back in bed
to jake-breaking semis clunk down 19

no semis here, streets are too narrow, concrete
tundra holding cars hostage
under cough colored sky.

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