"Back Apartment" by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

When you live in the back apartment

you exist behind everything:

the times, the foot traffic, the banker’s hours

that are never your hours.


Walking to work at 4:30 in the morning.

A yellow lunch bag tucked under your arm.

Only the purple newspaper van out dropping its load.


The blinking of traffic lights

and skunks with juice jars on their heads

slamming across the road.


A back stairwell you brave

on the way home

that could falter at

any time.


Over the alley the bag lady

with a cart full of men’s dress shoes

wheels through.


Slapping her own face

and cursing the many hydro wires