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Predawn 

in the grey moonless predawn
on the coal asphalt
soundless but a mutter of motor and tires
you, silent as a black cat
jaywalk in front of my alpine white BMW
I see you, too late
grey on black, hoodie on jeans
swaddled in that black blanket
flashes of a ghost white face and tube socks

        we’d met before, you and I
        we shared a couple moments
        dusk, at the Siren Song pub
        I sat cooling my heels
        awaiting the mixing of business with pleasure
        I studied a tiny venus flytrap on the windowsill
        a dying gnat secured in its adhesive fingers
        you shuffled up to the table, wrapped in a shiny new black chenille blanket
        your long brown beard half-brushed
        wearing black in summer? I asked, very daring
        you smelled ok
        you smiled obliquely
        I’m crepuscular, you announced, I’m like a deer
        I’m active at dawn and dusk
        word of the day, I replied
        what do you think of Plato’s Cave? you inquired
        a weird, sizzling intelligence back deep in your eyes
        I don’t think I can see it, I said, pleased with myself
        I was so on that day
        got a smoke? you asked
        I declined, truthfully, a reformed smoker
        you meandered away

        noon another day, you stood knee deep in a sodden ivy patch
        across from the Chevron station
        mesmerized, unmoving, still as the stop light where I pulled up
        I drove on
        they call your gaze the 1000 yard stare
        it might as well be 1000 light years
        for what you see is not of my world

        on a morning last week
        I strode from Ramone’s coffee shop, busy, TCB
        there you were, outside, your breath steam in wintry air
        wrapped in the now frayed and depleted chenille blanket
        our eyes met
        there was no light of recognition in yours, not an ember
        got $5? you asked mechanically
        cashless society, I said, what can you do?

back on the predawn highway, I veer
we miss, miraculously, somehow we miss
the Bimmer whips safely past your side
but so so close, so close the black blanket whips my window
clearing away some of the morning raindrops
I roar at the receding dark in the rear view mirror
do I care about this clown’s life more than he does?
then immediately conclude no, it’s a tie, neither of us cares
not a whit, iota or trace
and more’s the pity for both of us

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Michael Kraft

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