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Aug 2013
There's an atm in my neighborhood
That gives out singles,
Or three of them,
Or seven,
And so on.
It sits next to the drywall box
Filled with EBT dinners,
Next to the numbered gas pumps.
It glows in the predawn air,
While I sit on a cement wall
Across the street.
That hunk of junk charged me $3.75 to take out $7.
Next to me a man tells his inquisitive boy
Why the police act as they do.

"They the cops, man.
Not you."

I'm watching with rapt fascination
The ten inch screen
Of some wheelchair-bound woman's
Educational tablet,
While her hand, twisted by palsy,
Taps at a magnified qwerty pad.
She's playing hangman,
And I silently,
Secretly,
Guess along with her for almost fifteen minutes.
The bus arrives, and I'm grateful
It's the doubled kind with the hinge in the middle,
Cuz maybe I won't have to stand.
I take the empty seat next to
A SalvadoreΓ±a co-worker
I sometimes ride in to work with.
Our conversations are limited,
As are her English and my EspaΓ±ol.
We laugh at the Georgetown gringitas
lining up with their morning runners' clubs,
And lament over the cabrones pobres
Peddling to strangers for jobs
Outside the big box hardware store
That won't hire them.
The sun rises as we cross the Key bridge,
And the wounded Washington Monument,
With its scaffolding and the floodlights leaking through,
Is a diamond-studded phallace
Shining over a town draped in a shroud of humidity.
I close my eyes and try to rest
For the eleven minutes between
Me and my desk.
Mike Bergeron
Written by
Mike Bergeron  DC
(DC)   
950
     Timothy and Mike Bergeron
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