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That Hunger

The 59th Street rat is doing slalom
under the tracks to The Godfather
theme played on a steel drum.  

As the underground mascot turns
on himself, the tune changes
to Amazing Grace.

Someone is humming by the dumpster:
Hmmm hmmm, Yeah yeah
(I don’t recognize this number.)

His walnut skin pulls out a paper bag
only to pull out another from inside it.
Inside that bag are chicken bones,

or some kind of fowl limbs erased
of all but their clingy cartilage  
And he starts sucking.

He’s going for the marrow.  I’ve only seen
that sucking action once before by a pop-star
dining at the Cedar Tavern, determined to inhale 

every last burst of fresh death from that buffalo wing
as if her very own marrow depended upon it. Her
citrus-locks reverberating her mouth’s fixation.

And here it was again, the manic itching, the
unlearned urge to tap the liquid at the earth’s core.
It’s a reflex, stoking our own private tinder

to stay alive, in one way or another. 
Down here, August is incubating in the concrete. 
Down here, we are very close to that place.


©Suzan Alparslan 2004