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In the charcoal fog,
a single engine with massive lungs
slides towards me on the oiled track.
A black-faced man disappears down
its grim length following a flashlight.

Night is a cold bath of dirty water.
A child sleeps common as a grub,
his face a pale coin
beneath a mercury lamp.
I was let out here by mistake.

Black pulls me toward the city:
lamp black, coal black, ivory black.
One red stoplight swings
from its cable, an errant eye.

Should I wake the child?

      — Teresa White