The Panthers (after Rilke)

What they see from the open doors of their cheap L&M apartments,
from so much drowsing or pacing behind limp curtains,
from peering out into thin March sunshine—
what they see is washed out as if by
a sickly cast to the light, by booze, fuzzy-headed cigarette vision.

They look like bad pictures in an old album.
Some sit in worn chairs with splintering wickerwork,
even a bucket-seat torn from a junked car,
this is ease, this is camaraderie, this is

brown-bag community. There’s a weariness
even the steady application of liquor can’t
assuage or transform. This is a matter of eyes,

of dimmed and shadowed light of the many
irises, narrowing of pupils. This is
a matter of exhaustion, of the faces of zoo animals.
This is, oddly, a matter of
not quite giving up.

Front page image by contemplicity.

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Tim Myers

About the Author

Tim J. Myers is a writer, songwriter, storyteller, visual artist and university lecturer. He won a poetry contest judged by John Updike and has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His Glad to Be Dad: A Call to Fatherhood is out from He's also published 10 children's books with two more on the way. Find him at
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