I keep it within reach
just beneath the surface.

It is always awake with eyes
open watching me and ready

to arise at the simplest command
always there beneath the surface.

Time has not soften the beast.
Time has not taken away the power.

Over and through the years
I have learned to control

when the beast arises
the appropriate moments to step aside.

Sirens fade into the cityscape.
Cigarette smoke encircles the face.
She stands at the corner lost.
She stands at the corner waiting.

The city lights mask the darkness
sleeping beneath bridges,
the depth of hopelessness
strolling midnight streets.

Beyond here false prophets
speak hollow words and promises
that never come to fruition,
they never come down here.

What is left when hope has left?
What do I tell my children?

She looks each way, pause
and crosses the street to
another corner, another street light
hoping this side will be different.