Again, the sky is skinless. This morning
when the wind swirls it shreds apart
molecules of fog, funneling what mist
remains toward the beseeching mouths of grass.
The clouds no longer remember to bring
rain. Thus, smoke rises beside the freeway
from behind a construction site ringed by
encampments where the unhoused house themselves
under camo-colored tarps. The rest
of their day is given to
anything that can remove the pain,
that’s branded inside their hearts.
Gusts rattle the palms, stripping away fronds
that now litter the roads, and a downed power line
like a rubbery black worm, one end split
down to its plaited hot aluminum core.
Whose conscience is clear seeing those
dismal, flammable outposts sequestered
behind a half built or half dismantled
apartment block, like a human wrecking yard,
where so many of us come to give up
finding spare parts needed to make repairs?
Copyright 2022 Alan Soldofsky
Alan Soldofsky is the author of In the Buddha Factory (Truman State University Press, 2013). He teaches at San Jose State University where he directs the MFA program in Creative Writing. He lives in San Jose.