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Clouds engrave the sky,
finger trails stained with red or banded
in yellow husks; the city sinks downtown,
lurches and buckles like a paper ship
caught in a sewer grate — one more weekend
spent in naughty Chinese shops, pubs
with gilded dragons twined along walls
and spittle festooned across sinks.

The cobblestone teeth of Faneuil Hall
give way to bank receipts in piles, flyers
bent beneath the heel of a crimson door.
Dusk glazes a pub window; the dance of eyelids
begins, office workers wrapped in leather
and cotton blends. Heads of beer bloom
autumn gray, bodies expand within confines,
window pane, pant leg, poor man's pint.

Tonight the band plays Irish folk
with mandolins; a leprechaun, plush
and fat, hangs from the mast of a bass —
the singer assembles a choir. Doubled over
on the stage, he stiffens with each crested note,
his cinnamon skin warm in its slow pale.
He blends his voice with electric snow
from a nearby speaker — hides the tongue
of a darker hemisphere, scaled and sharp,
a southern dragon.

      — Seth Abramson