Leveler Poetry Journal
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West Barry Street


I love the ordinary doingness

of things, the man in an olive

green jacket putting a shovel


into the trunk of his clean

grey car, leaving it open.

The redhead hustling


across the street, the stroller
in front of her bumping
over the curb, the white dog


roped to the playground fence

facing the other direction. Coming

back, the man puts in a folding


chair, another, a woman
joins him, her tan jacket
flapping, she zips it, they drive


away. Someone jogs past
as if it were her natural pace,
without effort or strain. Why


a shovel? It was red. Headphones

are getting larger again, as are strollers.

My best friend’s cat had one ear


removed entirely, and doesn’t seem

to notice or mind. My astrologer says

sometimes you burn enough karma to get


a pass life, an easy ride. Last night

my neighbors to the east

had a party, the stoop abuzz


in stilettos without coats, and I thought
of going over in my house clothes
to say hello and offer blankets


or tea, but they didn’t seem
to be feeling the cold. I went back
to my work and texting


with a friend whose wife made
a terrible mistake, the noise
from the party a backdrop


of garbled babble and laughter,
wind against the windows,
the occasional casualty of glass.

Marty McConnell