Urbs in Horto

this is the city smiling in her lees

the trestles bear the pigeons paired

arch and attic swoop of roof


this is the soft affectionate sound of a cork

slipping from the wine bottle’s mouth

amplified to a scream at the runway’s end


here is yesterday trying to look like tomorrow

a whole neighborhood with champagne vinyl

laid over masonry, residents’ faces lifted to match


there are the places homemade bitters won’t go

kids can buy dope but can’t get the news

and when a school closes, worn shoes keep walking


here is the stoplight and its moneygrab eye flashing

green-red-green-red-green-red but exit the bar

stare back and see red-green-red-green-red-green


there are three sparrows squabbling over

a bit of bagel sitting in the heat-steamed street

outside the bus stop where the drunks like to pee


here are wet slicks of moonshine that shiver

at the grumbling train’s approach 

a sweetness spilled joyful at the first wet whiff


of a sudden and inconstant spring

vote early, vote often

vote sleep it off like another bad binge.

Betty Scott is a bookseller by day and reviewer/poet/novelist by night. Her work has appeared in Literary OrphansSlipstream, and Untoward.