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.

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