North 71 Cleveland – A Poem

“Any,” she says. “Yes, any.”

And so any.

North 71 Cleveland. A temperate mood just like a Floridian evening in June. Patio tables wet with rain; an umbrella silhouette; a man alone in the fog.

“Fourteen days. Fourteen days! and then suddenly one became three and everything went to hell,” the engineer exaggerates.

“He’s working on a treaty with the surveyor,” she explains to me in confidence.

“A bold move,” I reply.

“Aw hell, I am going outside to smoke. Want to join me?”

“Don’t smoke.”

“Aw hell.”

She pairs up with umbrella man and I leaf through my notebook. A transference of company.

I listen. The minister is mumbling as he writes a keynote address. Ice cubes are talking. The low moan of a distant train.

Vibrations from an undercurrent of violence disrupting our natural inclination for solitude.

She returns and umbrella man is gone. The Engineer is now orchestrating a coup d’état. “The dams will be our first objective!”

“He’s going to end up before a firing squad,” she predicts and giggles.

The gray light behind her mutes her features. Her shoulders are wet.

She sips her drink.

“It’s dangerous times we live in,” I say.

“We can go south, though. My sister lives down south and she says its safe. Not filled with all this talk of revolution. We can slip away at dawn.”

“I can’t. I have to go north.”

“Why?”

“North 71. Cleveland. It was on the sign and I have to follow it.”

“A damn sign?”

“It’s all I have.”

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