Gray morning.

Clouds rearrange themselves

            in the shifting edges of the dawn.

Vendors hose the

            nights detritus

            from their sidewalks

and pigeons dance around the spray

            to see what is revealed.

I am walking this gray morning

            with the day’s ambitions

            not yet settling into my steps. 

I walk north out of habit,

turn west for variety

            and find myself skirting the

            slow curve of the Sound -

                        the water

                        streaks and tosses

                        in random reaches of gray.

And I find that every thought

I try to wrap myself around

is hidden by the slow spin

            of gray morning. 

Three panhandlers ask

            without enthusiasm, for small change.

‘Don’t Walk’ lights

            blink in empty repetition.

I look to the east for relief

and find that not even the sun

can rise through

            the tangled overlay of gray.

I sit upon a broken slab

            of retaining wall and wait.

Old black man picks

            through a dumpster for tin cans.

Heavy black bird

            flies jerkily to the southeast

            intent on crow errands.

I look within

and observe my emotions

            like flat islands

            in dark waters.

I feel the shape

            of an unresolved longing.

Touch the edges

            of a vague and casual unease.

Heft the mass

            of some small, unsettling fear. 

This mute continent of soul,

            awash in gray,

reaches out from me

like a hard-scrabble wilderness

            uncharted, ill-known.

And I hesitate

            unable to choose a direction,

            unwilling to risk movement.

Morning like this -

            shrouded in ambivalence,

            heavy and shingled with doubt. 

A slow wind backs out of the southwest

            unraveling the mist,

            rearranging the patterns

                        of the waves.

I feel cool fingers brush my face

            and turn,

                        some faint stirring within


            an obscure centrifugal force of the heart

            nudges me.

I stand and walk.

Gray morning

can not show me clear direction

but waiting is no longer an option.  

R.S. Russell