The Paperboys


Catherine Hubbard


They look on like glass,

a rat for each pupil

and an apple in the neckline.

They hate like discarded furniture

and roll newspapers like sleeping bags.

They look like paper in the dark

with black and white hats

and desk-like bodies that

line the world's sidewalks where night

can prowl their abandoned, wood-carved bowels.

Where laundry and paper cards stretch like bandages

over the bleeding street,

leaving the moon-swept asphalt striped in gauze.

Each black pore being robed to death.

Not far away the breath of the ocean is standing

next to its oxygen tank waiting for signs that

it will breathe on its own again one day.

And lonely people rock back and forth on its beach

looking for life between their knees,

falling waves crash like men jumping from buildings

where beached whales swing to the windows

only to see emptied office arenas.

And hope still wanders below between

the trash and the doorsteps waiting for newspapers

to bounce off their skin.

The early morning streets

look like an abandoned truck,

its middle gutted back to conception

when it was just lines mated to a pencil.

The paperboys pick their fingernails

and sling their bags behind their backs

before mounting their wheeled steeds,

all hope on their shoulders,

they sail off like pioneers,

blazing trails through the tumbling furniture

whose bowels are a red morning wave.