it is the last day of the season
the city hums a languid ballad
and paints tenth avenue with sighs
and drips of sweat

biding time before our final meeting
i watch gardeners tending to new flowers
in a gated yard outside a brick apartment building

song of breath still in my ears
amber locks
in my eyes my teeth
kisses dancing across my brain 
like a ghost

no, you can never to hold
anything close enough to keep
but you cannot keep from wanting
and before you know it

the orange sky starts to bleed to black
and the gardeners finish their work and go on home
thinking themselves not pricked
barely dirtied at all

©2023 Niall Cunningham