Lesley Yalen


This Town




Tonight the babies all cried out at once
It took our breath away
I couldn’t sleep so I studied dress patterns
and sewed buttons in my head.
I went downstairs to check on the dog but
I hadn’t had a downstairs for many years.
The street was empty.
I did a quick breast exam. For a moment the possibility
that I could be dead soon was very real
and I shuffled braless to the corner store
which was of course closed. I looked in the window.
I looked up at the windows of our saggy apartment.
Romeo, Romeo. Let down your hair.
This town seems more gritty at night without
the people who are so nice and the families.
I look under the train bridge for a little action.
A smoker is talking on the phone and walking
his bike. I synchronize my steps with my-
self, the way I walked by the Trevi Fountain
in Rome knowing we’d be having sex soon.
In a house down the way, babies are crying
and I get sleepy with indifference, standing on the lawn.
I make my way back home to the crease in
real life where I reside in wonder, now.






Lesley Yalen lives in Northampton, MA. Her poems have appeared in jubilat, Glitterpony, Invisible Ear, Octopus, notnostrums, H_NGM_N, and elsewhere. She is a co-editor of Agnes Fox Press. Her chapbook The Beginning In is available from minutes BOOKS.