an unrhymed anglosaxon sonnet (homage to Earle Birney)

Dawn downtown. Doorway dormants
bundled in blankets, begin to stir.
Stale piss-stench of streets, alleys reeking refuse,
punctuated by breadsmell from bakeries.

Clatter of trolleybuses, with clinging antennae,
as they creepcrawl westward, away
from this hell. Outside the library
the crowd starts queueing, claiming this corner,

domain of the damned. I feel like Dante
walking to work. But going unguided
among these Dis dwellers, dare not descend.

I turn the corner, prepared to pay
the ferryman’s fee, to forego fame,
and postpone Paradise this Monday morning.

© Mark Milner, Vancouver

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