Dawn as an Act of Survival – Paul Ilechko

Slurred croak    cracked collarbone

head shaved tight to the pinking flesh

a pure invention of street life

synthesized and wired for direct current

breakfast juddering under ultraviolet

charred and caramelized   with a blast

of woodsmoke as coffee is guzzled   syllables

sputtering from misshapen tongue

the stink of syrup    of hot sauce and vinegar

silence hanging heavy between

the throb of another morning    and the stale

breath of the previous night

no recollection pervades his damaged mind

of how     besotted    the leather drool

of survival staggered him homeward

through greased and gut-churning detour

steel-pinned and bone-plated    with memory

of smoke and gasoline    he lights his flame

in competition with the rising sun

a crimson sky     his furnace. 


Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks “Bartok in Winter” (Flutter Press) and “Graph of Life” (Finishing Line Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Juxtaprose, As It Ought To Be, Cathexis Northwest Press, Inklette and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. FB: pilechko Insta: njscattista