can only be seen at 4
o’clock in the morning
in the city of Los
Angeles, the hour (as
Camus observed) when all
the people are fast asleep.
Nature whispers: yes, really,
I’m still here. And
the turtles come out of their shells
into the lovely empty streets.
The pavement carries them
along like a stream. And
they fly on tongues
of mist along the power lines
and wagging stop lights,
turned to red like a sucker.
Once the size of quarters,
now as big as pancakes.
Slowly they creep. Past the sleeping
boxes of cars, through
the parking lots & into Ralph’s. How beautiful
she is without people
in her!
The wonderfully vacant
cash machines spit out 20’s
onto the white linoleum.
But the grocery clerk doesn’t blink.
This happens almost
every night. After all,
like everyone else
they need their
bottled water.

November 1999

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