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Dan Gutstein

Industrial Plaza, Late Afternoon


Industrial Plaza, Late Afternoon

A two-story corner unlike wind damage
its walls dead and clean
blanch stone whole to one side
blanch stone with cubic feet of entry to the other

trucks there parked in A-B-C 1-2-3 grid
trucks in need of parts and labor
the drivers loiter keyless at the entry
the punctuation of a flag cracking overhead

a repeater
it has been organized at half-staff so long
it has never been organized full
neglected? mourning many in sequence?

the drivers don’t smoke
they step toward the darkening of taller buildings
half the men on the sidewalk and half on the street
cleansed of its traffic.


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The probability of deviation
and the big sky, an evaporate.
Gospel reverb tangent to
the scrubhedge rail tracks.
The remainder? A mirage.

Stint of toy cloud
grows into a flickering bulb
over the red, red mountains.
Amiable shafts of light
and dust. What has no eyes?
Electrics. Faith growing like ivy
up the walls of ruptured buildings.

The inarticulate crocus,
piebald language of the envoi,
at last, black and white belling
in the middle distance of dusk.
An idea spalls from the mind
in leaflike trajectory.

The summer will become a dancer
of few apices,
many peals of sovereignty.
Wake turbulence overhead or
the exhaust of a dead thundershower,
unsilvering. The rest? Transient,
as in: Origin. Imprint.

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Dan Gutstein is the author of two collections: non/fiction (stories, Edge Books) and Bloodcoal & Honey (poems, WWPH). His poems and stories have appeared widely in journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Best American Poetry, and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. He works at the arts college, MICA, in Baltimore.

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