February 25
by Vivian Sheperis

Jude shivered through narrow midnight streets.
Black pants creased in the right places
Butt tight,
On the prowl.
Slave to grinding pressure gnawing the back of his skull.
A freaking whistle blast hurtled him through moldering barrooms
With secret corners to touch, briefly, others in this clutching frenzy.

Jude shuddered. They called him a nerd.
They didn’t know him, Columbia U. genius.
They couldn’t know his fantasies that rivaled their own,
Kaleidoscopes of musky nights hot with overhead fans,
Flickering tin ceilings.

Jude fretted and stole around corners.
Dank shadows invaded his nostrils
Like the rank incense he had choked on during altar boy days.
He recalled cathedrals, tented with pungent fumes,
An acrid accusation of guilt for his sinful thoughts.

Jude twitched and slid his palm along the wet walls.
His feet darted like hooves on the spattered pavement.
I’m Pan, whistling my fife
Lost in the windy gust.

Jude faltered.
He savored the kitchen odors lingering in the fog,
But the drive to conquer barred safe home.
Pulsing red lights lured him,
Wailing taxis, and raindrops spitting off drainpipes.

Jude knew.
Like the of the call of the wild,
It was in him to know it
And to know he was alone in his thrall.