Molten darkness
smears through the alley,
electrified with fear and danger.
I reach up and wipe my brow
with my grimy hand as I try
to let down my guard and rest
with my head on my knees for a single second.
My head snaps up suddenly, sharply to the left,
toward the light of the echoing street.
I hear a brawl,
the mechanical clicking of
some powerful stranger with a gun.
And then my ears begin ringing
with the icy, chilling reality
that I will be spending with evening with
a dead man in an alley.

He draws nearer. I can hear his breath now.
I must have made a noise.
He must have heard me.
Oh I wish I were that stranger
slumped up against the alley wall
free from the grips of fear and agony.

Throat closing and
lips trembling,
I fight to keep myself hid beside
the dumpster.
My head, pressed tightly against the wall,
resonates with the sound of blood
pulsating around my brain.
Straining my ears, I listen,
hoping that I will survive yet another ordeal.

I hear someone, it must be
the killer.
Adrenaline forces its way into
my veins the way
some drug dealer in another alley
pumps heroin into his arm.
But I will live.

My heart rate rises to the rate
of the rat running at my feet.
The jagged air pulls silent screams
from my dry, aching throat
and wrenches my stomach,
filling my empty stomach with

The footsteps halt sharply.
another night
on the street
with my guard up
and my hopes deserted
on some paradise island.

f r e e d o m : r i n g s


-k e r r i : h a l l i h a n-