Fog and Wanderlust at Oak and Divisadero

That opaque curtain
now drawn across the city
draws me out of one silence
and guides me to another.

Round-shouldered strangers,
hands red and pale with cold,
grip at the openings of their coats,
pulling them closed.

The carwash,
bustling with impatient drivers
staring at bottles of blue cleaner
in the hands of those frenzied
nameless ones,
is now a stage set for fog.

The burning amber light
from the bar fails
to best the haze. Those few souls
who lost their ways sit shadowless,
waning crescents over cheap drinks.

The paint store is void
of the ever-hopeful workers
whistling at women
and waiting for a day’s wage.

A derelict burns a flashlight cigar
held between his teeth
into an open trashcan. He knows
the cold by name.

The bank sits like a block of stone.
The tellers have hung up their smiles
and sit at home counting coins in their heads.

Soon the curtain grows heavy.
My shoes scuff along the sidewalk.
My arm is wrapped around the cold;
my hand rests in the small of its back,
as we head home,
letting the fog close behind us.

Seth Amos