“Morning at the Elizabeth Arch” by Joe Weil

Joe Weil

MORNING AT THE ELIZABETH ARCH

The winos rise as beautiful as deer.
Look how they stagger from their sleep
as if the morning were a river
against which they contend.

This is not a sentiment
filled with the disdain
of human pity.
They turn in the mind,
they turn
beyond the human order.

One scratches his head and yawns.
Another rakes a hand
through slick mats of thinning hair.
They blink and the street litter moves
its slow, liturgical way.
A third falls back
bracing himself on an arm.

At river’s edge, the deer stand poised.
One breaks the spell of his reflection with a hoof
and, struggling, begins to cross.

from Rattle #28, Winter 2007