. A burst of laughter slips into an echo past the tinny bells and rattling glass of Joe's, my corner liquor store, the last and first of every day. Arroyo streets are dry of human traffic now, are dry of humans anyway, and through abandoned cars a gust of night is torn into a howl. A local-paper tumbleweed is spinning past some soggy bags of broken glass; and crumpled icon and iconoclast who only yesterday were vital news, are only what they are right now, were only human anyway. There is a lull between each gust, an aching, long-imploding howl. And neon flickers with an eerie, friendly cast. It satisfies as painted glass and Joe's becomes an abbey. Thus recast before the sabbath day, it harbors broken souls who live just for The Now, if that is living, anyway. A slowing bus exhales its gust of night, a wheeze if not a howl. Below the streets, the subway-howl, suppressed, still shudders with The Lost, the lost-to-day-lives anyway. Above, in what the edges of the light allow, a gutter-flood unwinds itself around and past a trashcan lid on which, alas! a nurse off graveyard shift is balanced, last to leave this black-lit day. Inside that cone of day, her body's bright, but where her arms have passed outside the light, they also pass from sight and seem cut off. Her tied-up smock hangs past her spandex contours like a towel. She's Aphrodite, though dismissed, regarded cheaply anyway, and broken as she was on Milos anyhow. She turns, and dreadlocks tumble past where eyes allow, where modest eyes do anyway, and cups one hand against her breast. She wavers in the city's scowl, its night so like its day, but stills her wobbling hips, composed at last, on trash-can lid that has to pass for scallop-shell: The Birth of Venus, fading fast. Can brokenness be beautiful, can beauty last? Mosaic light, like broken glass says beauty lives in brokenness, like vast and scattered shards of day in stars. But never let me reckon, "Night, be Thou my day!" since Joe's does in a way, maintain a light for those who've passed, and calms the city's growl. A burst of laughter floats into the echoes past the angel wings and tinkling glass of Joe's, my corner coffee shop, the last and first of every day. As stars dissolve from human sight yet stay somehow The Broken go about their way with beauty---reconciled at last among the stars, at least for now. . . .Daniel Kemper is a systems engineer living in California.