In the Middle Of
Philadelphia tonight is a constellation
of hospitals: drips & beeps & masked
mortals who smooth gloved hands
just so on this one’s shoulder, pinch
a catheter with breath held two-three-four,
commas amid rows of respiratored strangers.
Earlier, Melinda walked borrowed dogs.
Patrick cheered out three windows
for the toddler inching her red tricycle.
In the middle of the Ave, neighbors traded
tablespoons of yeast for pints of vodka
sneakered above still cobblestones. I used to
lie, at 11 or 13, on the white striped crosswalk,
asphalt still warm from Los Angeles sun.
The sky beyond blinding streetlights
would wink its few stars—
Darla Himeles (she/her) is the author of the chapbook Flesh Enough (2017) and Cleave (forthcoming, 2021), both with Get Fresh Books. Darla is a poetry editor for Platform Review, and her poems can be read in recent issues of Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, Atticus Review, Off the Coast, and Talking River. She holds a PhD in English from Temple University, where she works as the assistant director of the Writing Center, and lives in Philadelphia with her wife and daughter. Find her on Twitter @darlaida or at darlahimelespoetry.com