Laura McCullough

Stand on the sidewalk
           with a cup of warm soup, curry,
the color of wheat in late August, and let yourself

be seen. It’s the currency
           of the street. Wear nothing 
or everything you own. It doesn’t matter. They’ll devour

you with their eyes,
           grateful for your humanity today. 
What you see when you look back is the depth of space 

behind each cheekbone,
           the distance between the street 
and an open window where sadness lurks in the shape

of a man who found
           out today he can’t have children. 
His face is luminous, the color of curry or yarrow, 

your finest eye shadow,
           the one meant to capture autumn. 
It’s there in his eyes more beautiful than anything. 

In the lot of the hardware
           store someone watching 
you sees the color of your brother’s car accident 

rolling off your shoulders
           like heat off hot tar in July. 
They recognize the smell of unresolved childhood 

grief, and it fills them 
           the way good, yeasty bread does. 
Let them look; you’re busy. The man in the window 

is stretching now, 
           his white chest wide, spine cracking
and with it the odor of vanilla ice cream on a good man’s

beard when he kissed you
           goodbye. Turn away, walk along
the brick curb radiating all the accrued sunshine you can 

on the surface of your skin