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.