Alley Song

Old window full of sky,
and the back of houses – angular
bays, roof slates that nudge their edges
down to sunripe bricks –

recalls the ragman’s cry,
his wagon gathering remnants
over cobblestones tamped down by cold
on mornings when time lay fallow.

Now, towards midday, barrels
scrape cement. The trash truck
whines and swallows, moves
along the alley empty. Still

I cherish piecework there
to pattern thoughts – gaunt cats
that slip close, drift away
through chalky wooden fences.