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City Spill

by Alan Harris
Chicago traffic this morning
roars and beeps
like a cheap video game.

Freakishly, at Wells and Adams,
a speeding bicyclist's paper sack
spills his stash of shiny bagels
all over Wells Street.

Heads turn.

Two dozen bagels kiss the street
at crazy angles,
then goofily twirl on empty centers
until gravity calms them down
in front of some cars at the light.

The bicyclist jerks his vehicle
over to the curb while hissing
inaudible words of concern.

Wells Street, now set like
a sudden breakfast table,
displays to the public
a tasty temptation
with not one taker.

Idling cars restrained
before the strewn bagels
by a red light
now turning green
begin to roll bagelward.

As if witnessing
a friend's execution,
the bicyclist clutches
his empty sack and
glares with grim indignity
at the squashings.

From the book The Wheel of Yes (1995)

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