Wicker Park, 11:11 P.M. // Nick Pecucci
The entirety of the human race
has escaped to the streets I walk
I wear my work uniform
as an imperfect shield.
The maroon shirt is unbuttoned
I am still attempting to hatch
from the temporary egg
housing my afterwork self.
I attempt to avoid cracks in the sidewalk
while still feigning a natural pace.
This is impossible.
I hear the conversations of shadowed passerby
accumulating from several feet away.
I try not to eavesdrop
as I (we) walk under rusted construction ducts.
I find myself lost
on the wrong side of the street,
seeing odd numbers instead of evens,
heading north instead of south.
Street signs do not point me in the right direction.
Lights dissolve from shop windows,
owners lock their doors for the evening
and I search their faces;
for they too
are part of this population
despite the fact that they reside on the inside.
They watch me through windows.
I watch them through windows.
I watch myself through windows.
The street glows in bedsheets of old rain.
if only there was an intermission.
I locate my destination eventually,
I am asked for my ID...
I produce my ID...
I am handed back my ID...
I am granted entry with my ID...
I resume becoming I
and push a door meant to be pulled.
The room sparkles orange
as if illuminated by an unseen fire.
The bar is half empty or half full
depending on my (your) perspective.
I wait to be seated
before a sign that says
Please wait to be seated.
I wait for someone to seat me
even though my seat has already been reserved.
A hand waves to (at) me
from the back of the bar.
I am expected.
I see only a hand and not a face,
but I assume I am the focus of the gesture.
I do not wait to be seated.
My feet fail to touch the floor
from the high chair in which I sit.
I am the third in a party of three.
I reach into my pocket
and my ID falls to the floor
I turn it face up
before I pick it up
and return it to my tattered wallet
with other pieces of myself.
Five different televisions play five different programs.
I attempt to watch them all.
This is impossible.
Nick Pecucci is a part-time bookstore clerk and a full-time nervous wreck residing in the suburbs of Chicago. Nick received a BA in English from Northeastern Illinois University; his poetry and fiction has previously appeared in Former People, Mochila Review, and SEEDS Literary & Visual Arts Journal. You can meet Nick at a public transportation stop near you.