After the rain, on James Street
the cars drift on glass,
the wind toys with a wisp of hope
someone left behind, or misplaced,
and my neighbor across the street limps
outside, leans into traffic, and
peers west to see if the world has
actually ended or if it is only the peculiar
way winter light will sometimes fall.
I stand with my hand on the cold knob,
and think of my friend, recently departed. I, too,
wonder about the end of all things, the silence
six feet under, and even the practicality
of golden streets, the marks tires might make,
the long, gradual grooves weight will press
into its softness.
Inside the house, normal life awaits.
I turn the knob but still do not go in, still
stand staring at the glassy street, when my neighbor
shouts, “Hey!” across the way
and raises his arm to say hello or good-bye
or perhaps he is saluting
me before the end. I raise
my arm back at him and he smiles and shrugs
towards the street and the sky as if to say, Look
what I found.
But neither of us move from where
we stand. We simply wait there,
for something spectacular to happen
after the rain, on James Street.