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I prefer crowds with voices echoing
up and down the train cars, city bus gears singing     stop here
exhaust spewing, laughs rolling to the page—
boots, heels, sneakers step on and off the curb,

     voices flood ears become stolen dialogue in ink.

I write in public to feel stilettos slap pavement,
for the roar of pigeons in flight, the scent of yeast
to count those who stop to give the cold and knocked about
coins on the corner. Watch a little boy with his grandma
hand out raisins, buy their newspapers, deliver popcorn
balls, candy canes, cards full of glitter, signed
in a seven-year-old scrawl    God Bless You.

I write so we can rest our bones,
our driving force to live without capture,
to forget about death float words
to the page without waking rise above
ego brain     become scribbler with no name
observe life teeming: chipmunks who skedaddle
at the crow’s shadow, squirrel highways in city parks, on power lines, pitches,
to see young men assist a tottering woman
and her bags cross the street when traffic does not
stop for thin bones, the way the sun
goes to sleep, casts a halo over structures humans
construct to shield people from ice sheets whistling
across lakes, prairies, the summer rays that burn
foreheads and cheeks stamping a fury

     so we can sleep at night embrace the soft dark light.

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Angela (Angie) Trudell Vasquez is the current city of Madison Poet Laureate (2020-2024) and the first Latina to hold the position. She received her MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017

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