Featured Poem / Fall/Winter 2015
ELEVENTH AVENUE ENCOUNTER
While stopped at a snowy red light on Eleventh,
appropriate it now seems,
I saw you standing on the corner
pure as the driven through snow.
Radiant under the streetlight
you approached me at the corner
asked me for a light
and offered a short ride
promising a sixty-dollar glimpse of Paradise.
For a moment I considered.
You were lovely –
an Iowa ten
whose Broadway dream ended a few blocks west,
exuding a coquettish vulnerability
despite the hardened veneer
applied as thick as your makeup.
But I have scars far older than you
wounds that have become trusted friends,
a roadmap of my past.
A past you could never understand
but a past in which I may have accepted
a temporary respite from the fear.
And so I drive away leaving you
to shiver in the lonely night
awaiting the next lonely sojourner
seeking comfort in the cold.
Stephen Barry is a trial lawyer, fly fisherman, and dad living in New York’s Hudson River
Valley. His poetry has appeared in the Boston Literary Magazine, Big River Poetry Review,
Emerge Literary Journal, and other publications. He is a regular reader on
WorldPoetryOpenMic broadcast out of Denver.