A chef in Berlin awakes with a start
at the sound of his smartphone’s alarm.
It’s for the morning run they used to take
around the Brandenburg gate.
But that’s over now.
On Friday his wife packed
and ran for the train.


The cashier in Miami’s Little Havana
looks at her watch with the frayed faux-leather band.
It’s time to pay the meter across from the bodega.
Hers is a reflex that doesn’t tire, keeps her wired,
even though she lost her job last week.
They’re tearing the bodega down
to build condos.


In Los Angeles an aspiring actress
checks to see that her agent is still sleeping.
From under the mattress,
she pulls out the black and white
headshot of her boyfriend.
She can still smell his loose-leaf tobacco,
and picture his impatient fingers
rolling a cigarette
first thing in the morning.
But that’s over now.
He overdosed two years ago
after relapsing into his other,
more tenacious, routine.

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