Eros In His Striped Blue Shirt

and green plaid shorts goes strolling
through Juneau Park at eight o’clock
with only a hooded yellow windbreaker
for protection, trawling the bushes after work

while tugboats crawl the dark freshwater
outlook. Mist coming in not even from a sea, rain
later in the evening from Lake Michigan, a promise
like wait till your father gets home. The air

is full of fog and botched seductions, reluctance
of early summer to arrive. It’s fifty-five degrees
in June, the bodies can barely be made out
leaning on picnic tables under trees or

set sentinel like statues along the paths (the founder
corrodes quietly on his pedestal, inscription
effaced under faggots go home). Lips
touched to a public fountain for a passerby

shape clouded breath into a who-goes-there?, into a
friend-or-foe?, eyes catching eyes like hooks
cast in a shallow tide. Night pouring in like water
into a lock, the rusted freighter lowered level

to level, banks of the cement canal
on either side, but miles from any dock.

by Reginald Shepherd

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