We Sleep However We Can

Michael Mingo

after Fernand Léger’s painting Animated Landscape

Even in modern cities,
where the buildings overlap
with metal-tinted façades,
there’s always space to rest

and fall apart. My friend
will testify: her limbs
are splayed along the sidewalk,
a collapsed suit of armor

in the shade of synthetic leaves.
During the working week
we sleep however we can.
I’ll keep her vigil, straight

as a mannequin, my skirt
rippling in the breeze
of factory exhaust
or venting steam. Tonight,

after the offices shutter
and the sky changes from gray
to darker gray, we’ll switch
our posts, and soon repeat.

Michael Mingo received his MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. His work has appeared in SpillwayHarpur PalateTar River Poetry, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. He currently works as a proofreader and resides in northwest New Jersey.