Market Street By Joan Annsfire

Market Street

At Powell and Market
the street is littered
with sleeping bags
and mud-encrusted bodies.

Tongues speak in circles,
attempt to intercept
the desperate, corporate race,
that happens with extra fervor
on a rainy day.

A bony hand emerges
from its rain-soaked wrapper,
reaches out toward
the rush-hour parade
of hammer heels marking time
on slick pavement.

A man with one leg
has taken off his prosthesis
and is using it
to collect coins.

He looks up at me,
our eyes meet briefly
as he lights a cigarette.

I turn away
and one brief spark of light
flickers and dies
on the wet wind.

His body flattens,
back up against the store window,
his hollow leg
fills up with rain.

By Joan Annsfire


Joan Annsfire lives is a retired librarian who lives in Berkeley California and writes poetry, memoir, and non-fiction. Her poetry chapbook, “Distant Music” was published by Headmistress Press. Her poetry has appeared most recently in the anthology “Older Queer Women: the Intimacy of Survival,” Lambert and Einstein and “9/11: The Fall of American Democracy, Casey Lawrence. The Times They Were A- Changing, Women Remember the 60’s and 70’s,” Farrell, Meyers and Starfire. “The Queer Collection,” “99 Poems for the 99 Percent,” “Milk and Honey, a Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry” and “The Other side of the Postcard among others as well as online and in literary journals including, Counterpunch’s Poet’s Basement, Lavender Review, Sinister Wisdom, The 13th Moon, Bridges, The Evergreen Chronicles, OccuPoetry, The SoMa Literary Review and The Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly. Her stories have appeared in “Identity Envy,” Readtheselips, Aunt Lute Press blog about the seventies, “Uprooted, an Anthology on Gender and Illness,”and Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly, and the just published anthology, “Dispatches From Lesbian America,” edited by Smith, Berber and Capone.

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