At Three A.M.
In a deserted alley on Franklin Street
the garbage cans play the opening bars
of the Hallelujah Chorus;
after a moment, a tom cat emerges
protesting his innocence.
At the corner of Elm Street and Third,
the all-night pharmacy's blue light shines;
inside, the druggist catnaps
keeping a hand on the .38 special
hidden below the counter.
Inside St. Elizabeth's Hospital,
the backlog has finally dwindled,
not an ambulance in sight;
the exhausted resident sneaks into a back room
to catch some zees.
Just off Main Street the cop has parked his squad car,
turns off his lights to become a smaller target,
his radio broadcasting only static;
he opens his thermos,
slowly empties the contents.
The third shift goes on lunch break
down at the UPS packing center,
unshaven men wondering
why they are eating lunch
at three a.m.
Jack and his Jill stagger from O'Malley's Bar
heading for the Midtown Hotel
each, perhaps, fearing what the other
will look like in the morning but,
in any event, they'll have a chance to sleep it off.