James Doyle

The Only Light in the Neighborhood

is the porch light rabid as a moth
at the bare spot on my uncle’s head.

He is slumped in the swing at 3:00 A.M.
Upstairs, my aunt is dreaming. Her veins

are shining rails that tick to the cadence
of the blood they carry. The train’s one

passenger goes from window to window,
looking through her own reflections

for what is speeding by outside.
It is 4:00 A.M. and my uncle’s pulse

decides that counting the hours is too boring
a monotone to keep up. It is 6:00 A.M.

and the lady who delivers the newspaper
is screaming. The sun has come up

to bleach out local light. My aunt insists
on riding in the ambulance to the morgue.

One of my uncle’s hands is folded over the other
as if he can’t stop checking his wrist.