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David Wright

Local Talent

Across 6th St., the local talent assembles themselves
on their damp porch-couches. From here, I see
only their lighters, the face of a woman lit by her phone,
and a half-dozen unextinguished butts on the lawn.
In summer, they laugh and curse, dinner to midnight.
But during Advent, by 5:45, it's over. Two men drive off
in a questionable Pontiac. The rest vanish inside the scraped
bare methhouse held upright by weedvines.
Next week I am joining the volunteer Messiah downtown,
motley crew of baritones and sopranos stretching
our throats to cover the spare parts. We are the choir.
We are also the small congregation. Takes all our talent
to keep our candles and cigarettes lit in the Illinois wind,
singeing the soft skin of our palms cupped against the dark.

—David Wright

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