I wait at the light
while the guys coming off work hustle out the factory door
one minute after seven in the morning
and eight out of ten of them
lighting up cigarettes before they hit the crosswalk
in front of me. Gray
morning gray faces tired
washed out even and pale in the gray light
tattooed arms carrying empty coolers and cold bags
for lunches eaten at midnight or some such time that
they know and I can’t figure out. Being who I am.
Daytime. Not night shift.
Smoke billows around them
as they cross at the light
more relaxed by the time they hit the sidewalk
on the other side of the street
than you could think would have time to happen
but you can certainly see it. I’ve got a whole morning to get through and
afternoon. Lunch no time soon. They’ll be eating dinner. Sleeping.
Two different days are colliding right here at this traffic light.
Night shift. Day shift. Shift one into the other. Not possible.