Gary Duehr



Imagine there’s a girl

Who’s in a party dress, her world

An empty street. It’s all of her existence:

Unframed, unlimited. There's a sense

It’s late in the afternoon, those skinny shadows

Falling from her legs and stop sign. But who knows?

It could be early morning. Let’s zoom in for a closer view:

The storefront grates are down, except for two:

A rug place and a liquor store—which must be open, otherwise

They'd be shut tight. Her downcast eyes

Stare at the ground. You feel

That time has paused, or started to congeal.

On the curb, a crumpled pack

Of cigarettes will never get picked up; in a window, a stack

Of jumbled carpets, like an octopus,

Reaches out for her. It’s either them or us.

Everything is frozen into place.

The girl? The lone survivor of the human race.