In Chinatown They’re Pulling the Heavy Shutters by William Taylor Jr.

The waning afternoon
like a hand to a fist around my heart,
like I’m twelve and it’s the last
day of summer.
In Chinatown they’re pulling the heavy
shutters down over the storefronts
as a man plays a sad saxophone at the corner
of Sutter and Stockton,
his suitcase full of pennies.
The sun drifts away with no real
promise to return
as the big dumb hand of whatever
wipes us off the board, one by one,
leaving me clinging to the last scraps
of anything that might still pass for beauty,
like a man fishing cigarette stubs
from sidewalk cracks
with the light
and everything dying,
consumed with the fear
of it all leaving me, even
the ghosts.

william-taylor-jnr
William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including The New York Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and Catamaran Literary Reader. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a collection of short fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. To Break the Heart of the Sun is his latest collection of poetry.

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