Kinston, N.C.

The sun climbed higher. The air

thickened among the buildings

like a rich batter, and set.

Then the humped cars came tunneling,

eating their way like beetles.

One burst, and its white kernel

ghosted out from the grille,

labored high over town,

and vanished, unnoticed.

Asphalt of streets softened.

On her high porch, a lady’s face

trickled its thin whey. Her neighbor,

passing by on the sidewalk, dropped

an egg from his grocery bag. It splashed

to a black star of carbon.

Beside it, somebody’s lost dime

blazed, and could not be touched.